The Ducks had already met up with the New York Rangers when they began the season in Europe. Anaheim earned a 2-1 shootout victory in Stockholm, Sweden, which was the start of a four game winning streak.
Meeting up with the Rangers in New York was deja vu for the Ducks, right down to the score of 2-1 in a shootout. The only problem was that this time the Rangers were the victorious ones, not the Ducks.
Stop me if you have heard this one before, but the Ducks got off to a slow start. Their top line looked out of synch.
New York, who did not insert a recently called up Sean Avery into their line up, scored first. Jeff Woywitka got a rare goal to put the Rangers on the board at 17:32 of the first period.
Things did not look good for the Ducks until the second period. Finally they woke up and figured out how to get a few shots on goal.
By the end of the second period, one of those shots finally went in the net behind Henrik Lundqvist. Bobby Ryan scored at 18:18, with assists to his linemates, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Maybe things would not end so poorly after all.
The Ducks controlled most of the third period, holding the Rangers to no shots on goal in the final 10 minutes of the game. However, nothing else found its way behind Lundqvist.
For the second game in a row, the Ducks headed to overtime. Unlike the loss to the Washington Capitals, which ended in the extra period, this one went on to the shootout.
Eric Christensen, who seems to merely be in the NHL for his shootout talents, got his shot past Jonas Hiller, the puck floating in under Hiller’s left leg pad. Teemu Selanne tied it up in the second round by roofing the puck beautifully up and in the net. Marian Gaborik put his shot past Hiller, forcing Ryan to make his shot. He did not.
“We found a way,” said Rangers coach, John Tortorella. “We found a way to win it in the shootout and get two points.”
The Ducks continue to find ways to lose and have now lost seven of their past eight games and are 5-5-3 on the season. 13 points in 13 games. Translate that through the end of the year, and you won’t see the playoffs with 82 points.
With only one more game left on this road trip, the chances of earning more points are not good. Playing Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings, at Joe Louis Arena, just increased the odds of the Ducks losing eight out of nine.
Why so negative? The last time the Ducks won in Detroit was….February 2008. Historically, the Ducks are 3-24-7 at Joe Louis. That is in nearly 20 years of doing business. It is not negative, merely pragmatic and realistic.
Then again, it had been a few years since the Ducks had won in Minnesota, and that did happen on this road trip. Stranger things have happened. But the odds are exceedingly grim.