The Santa Ana winds were blowing back home in Anaheim, with leaves on the doorstep. In Toronto, Jonas Hiller had Leafs on his doorstep. When all was said and done, Toronto also had two points in the standings with a 5-2 victory over the Ducks.
While the Leafs are not a familiar team, there was a familiar face in goal. It was the first time the Ducks had met up with Toronto since Jean-Sebastien Giguere was traded last spring. Giguere appeared to be a man on a mission to play well and he succeeded.
The Ducks started off well enough, getting on the scoreboard at 7:55 of the first period with a wide angle shot from Dan Sexton. Sexton figured to put it on net and let the traffic in front take care of it, but Sexton’s shot went in over the shoulder of Giguere.
The Leafs, who were rebounding from a 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers the night before, tied up the game at 11:43 with a goal from Clarke MacArthur.
Tied going into the second period, the Ducks did what the Ducks seem to do a lot of lately – stop playing in the middle frame and start relying on their goaltender. This time Hiller could not bail his team out.
Brandon MacMillan gave the Ducks the lead once more at 5:23. It was unclear whether MacMillan’s goal crossed the line behind Giguere, as Dion Phaneuf went to clear the puck. Even if it had not crossed, Maxim Lapierre banged it in again to make certain it counted. Eventually the goal was credited to MacMillan, his fifth of the year.
But that was all she wrote for the Ducks. Once more the Leafs tied up the game with a goal from Carl Gunnarsson at 13:10 and Tyler Bozak gave Toronto the first lead of the game at 16:15.
The Ducks regrouped and came out a bit better in the third, but then Bobby Ryan made a beautiful pass to Mikhail Grabovski. No, Grabovski does not wear a Ducks uniform, and Grabovski was more than obliging to put the puck behind Hiller at 5:56.
The Ducks looked like they could have come back within one midway through, but Lubomir Visnovsky’s shot went off the cross bar and out and play continued until Grabovski did it again. He caught Hiller down on the ice and made it 5-2 at 11:40.
At that point, game over Ducks. They were outshot 37 to 28. They were outhit 31 to 23. They were bested in the faceoff circle by Toronto, who won 2 out of 3 face offs.
Eventually playing poorly catches up to you, and this time it caught up to the Ducks. One can only hope that they get their act together for a full 60 minutes (65 if overtime is needed) when they visit Montreal on Saturday. Fans deserve better than this.