Ducks 6, Nashville 3.

The Ducks played like a different team in Game 4 compared to Game 3. In part, they were.

Sheldon Brookbank, Kyle Palmieri and Brad Winchester came out of the lineup; and Andy Sutton, Andreas Lilja and Jarkko Ruutu went in — but the biggest difference in the 6-3 win seemed to be the Ducks’ resolve.

Goals by Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Brandon McMillan in the third period broke a 3-3 tie, and the series shifts back to Anaheim on Friday tied at two games apiece.

Goals by Cam Fowler and Saku Koivu staked the Ducks to a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 5:14. Patric Hornqvist answered 34 seconds later for Nashville, and Joel Ward’s power-play goal at 5:44 of the second period tied the game at 2.

Teemu Selanne deflected a Getzlaf shot past Pekka Rinne with the Ducks on the power play at 11:41 of the second period to temporarily restore the one-goal lead. But Kevin Klein and Matt Halischuk caught the Anaheim defense napping, with Klein setting up Halischuk for the equalizer at 14:15.

A delay of game penalty to Nick Bonino with 31.5 seconds left in the second period carried over to the third period, and could have given the Predators the break they were looking for. Instead, Perry scored short-handed 1:17 into the third period to give the Ducks all the momentum they needed. Nashville put only three shots on Ray Emery (19 saves) in the entire third period.

The Ducks outshot Nashville 38-22 in the game, and Rinne wasn’t around to see the end of it. He was lifted for Anders Lindback after McMillan’s goal at 6:46 of the third period.

“We just felt that the way we played the other night, we needed a little bit more size on the back end,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We hadn’t played Sutton and Lilja in a while. We thought that some of our younger players — specifically Sbisa and Bonino … McMillan and Beleskey, those are all very young players — we just felt they would be more comfortable with a 6-foot-5 defenseman and another 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenseman on the back end.”

A few more notes and observations:
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Kings 3, Ducks 2.

Wednesday was a long day for the Ducks.

Jonas Hiller said he’s got vertigo, Timo Pielmeier was demoted to Syracuse, Ray Emery was flown in to Anaheim, Curtis McElhinney earned another start, Saku Koivu tried to play despite a groin injury but sat, Ryan Getzlaf tried to play but his wife gave birth so he sat out too, and then the Ducks lost 3-2 to the Kings.

Time to breathe now.

A one-goal loss to the Kings was about the most uplifting way to extend a losing streak to four games, short of earning a point in overtime or a shootout. Figure that with Getzlaf and Koivu in the lineup, Jarkko Ruutu isn’t starting the game on the top line; the Ducks are putting more pressure on Jonathan Quick and not relying on a pair of deflections to constitute their offense; and certainly Bobby Ryan and Brandon McMillan aren’t dressing as the No. 1 and 2 centers.

“I think we played good enough to win the game,” Teemu Selanne said, and against a team that isn’t as hot as the Kings (9-1-3 in their last 13 games), he’s probably right.

Here’s the game story, and here are a few details I left out:
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Ducks 3, Calgary 2, SO.

The Ducks squandered a two-goal lead, didn’t score or allow a goal in overtime, then rolled the dice in the shootout. Sound familiar?

Friday’s 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames followed the same script as Anaheim’s last two outings, a win in Edmonton and a loss in Vancouver.

Lubomir Visnovsky and Dan Sexton scored in the first and second periods, respectively, to stake the Ducks to a 2-0 lead. After goals by Olli Jokinen and David Moss knotted the game at 2 in the third period, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry scored in the shootout to seal the win. Hiller preserved the victory with a glove save on Rene Bourque on the other end after Perry’s goal in the third shootout round.

The Ducks have gained points in their last three games, and in six of their last eight. But about squandering those two-goal leads …

“The problem is we start thinking too much about it,
instead of just playing,” Hiller said. “We’re thinking about what could happen. It’s a
mental game. We have to do better and we’re going to work on it.”

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Columbus 4, Ducks 3.

When is 50 shots not enough?

Apparently Friday, when Columbus goaltender Steve Mason stymied the Ducks’ offensive onslaught in a 4-3 Blue Jackets win — a game that featured more near-misses than a pistol in the hand of a James Bond villain.

The Ducks saved their best for a third period in which they outshot Columbus 25-3 — reminiscent of Wednesday’s 2-1 loss in Minnesota that saw the Ducks outshoot the Wild 16-2 in the third. Like Niklas Backstrom, Mason was living large in the final period, allowing only a Corey Perry goal at 7:22 to bring the Ducks within 4-3.

Bobby Ryan — on his first career short-handed goal — and Saku Koivu also scored for the Ducks, who have now lost four straight on the heels of a six-game winning streak. Jonas Hiller stopped 25 shots, allowing goals to Rick Nash, Chris Clark, Jakub Voracek and Steve Commodore.

More details in tomorrow’s editions. Here are a few more notes:

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Ducks 4, Dallas 2.

After stumbling to one of their worst starts to a season in recent memory, the Ducks have emerged to win six straight.

One reason for the quick turnaround has to be the emergence of secondary scoring.

Second-line center Saku Koivu extended his point streak to a season-high five games with the game’s first goal, on a redirect of a centering feed by Teemu Selanne. Bobby Ryan scored the Ducks’ final two goals to give him seven on the season. Ryan Getzlaf’s second-period goal — off a beautiful no-look pass from Corey Perry — was his seventh this year. All four players — Ryan, Getzlaf, Koivu and Selanne — are all on pace to score more than 30 goals this season.

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Ducks 1, New York Islanders 0.

It was Military Appreciation Night at Honda Center on Wednesday.

Other than Saku Koivu’s third-period goal, Curtis McElhinney’s 27-save shutout, and Luca Sbisa’s return to the NHL, there wasn’t much else to appreciate in the Ducks’ fifth straight win.

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Lilja gets his visa, Sbisa sent to Syracuse.

Defenseman Andreas Lilja has received his visa and was added to the Ducks’ active roster Saturday. To make room for the 35-year-old veteran, who signed last weekend but had his visa renewal delayed, the Ducks assigned defenseman Luca Sbisa to AHL affiliate Syracuse.

The 20-year-old Sbisa was a healthy scratch in three of the Ducks’ five games this season and averaged only 12:22 in the two games he played. After spending all but the first eight games of last season in the Western Hockey League, a well-built Sbisa arrived at training camp hoping to play an entire season in Anaheim. That dream will have to wait another season.

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St. Louis 5, Ducks 1.

There’s an almost endless repository of statistics that illustrate how bad the Ducks have played in their first three regular-season games. They have been outscored 13-2 and outshot 145-72. Their 43.0 faceoff percentage ranks 29th in the NHL, their 48.3 penalty minutes per game 30th.

Most importantly, a team that pledged to avoid another typical early-season swoon is off to an 0-3 start. If there is a hockey-statistical equivalent of the word acrid, just take your pick.

The good news – and there was some good news after Monday’s 5-1 loss in St. Louis – is that the Ducks got to come home in advance of Wednesday’s home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. By then they will probably have added a veteran to help on defense, Andreas Lilja, and have the potential for an opening-night atmosphere that tends to make visiting teams uncomfortable – the same atmosphere the Ducks faced Friday and Saturday in Detroit and Nashville, respectively.
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Vancouver 4, Ducks 1.

Roberto Luongo was in midseason form – playoff form, at times – as the Canucks spoiled the preseason debuts of Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Todd Marchant in Vancouver. Luongo’s 28-save performance handed the Ducks their second loss of the preseason, following back-to-back wins over the San Jose Sharks.

Selanne and Bobby Ryan were linemates, as expected, until late in the third period. That’s when the Ducks got their only goal – except it was the fourth line of Trevor Smith, Josh Green and George Parros that finally solved Luongo, with Green re-directing a Sheldon Brookbank slapshot in front of the net with 7:18 left.

Henrik Sedin, Guillaume Desbiens, Daniel Sedin and Jordan Schroeder scored goals on Jonas Hiller (21 saves), whose best chance of stopping any of the four came on Daniel Sedin’s second-period, mano-a-mano slapshot. Yet even that scoring chance was created by a careless play by Selanne, who turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

The Ducks return home to play the Kings on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

On the Wisniewski trade.

Checking in from the vacation trail to report, as I’m sure you already know, that James Wisniewski has been traded to the New York Islanders for a third-round draft pick in 2011.

At a glance, it’s not obvious how this fits into Bob Murray’s plans to rebuild a young, thin defense. Expect some more moves in the coming days or weeks. Among their current blueline corps, only Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman and Sheldon Brookbank have spent a full season in the NHL.