Maybe it was too much road trip. Maybe it was playing in the second of back to back games. Maybe it was a little of both. Whatever it was, the Ducks looked like their earlier season selves in a 4-1 loss to Colorado.
The Ducks did well on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, but lately that isn’t saying much. Going back to the airport to fly to Denver and play the next night seemed to suck whatever life the Ducks had right out of them. Colorado, who has now won four in a row, was more than happy to capitalize.
“I think it’s a combination of everything,” said Avalanche coach Joe Sacco. “We know what’s at stake every time we play.
“Right now, it’s a stretch where things are going pretty good for us, but we got to keep our foot down on the gas pedal. We can’t let up. It’s a tough conference and every game is so important.”
Anaheim did ok in the first two periods, but facing Semyon Varlamov meant they would have to be stellar. They were not.
Cody McLeod put the Avalanche on the board at 9:26 of the first period. Bobby Ryan was able to tie up the game at 18:30 of the second period. They needed the power play advantage to do so and it was the only goal they got behind Varlamov.
In the third period, the Avs buried the Ducks.
Ryan O’Reilly took the lead back :37 seconds in. Matt Duchene extended it at 2:55. Jay McClement put the final nail in the coffin at 14:46. 4-1 Colorado. Game over.
“They came out hard in the third and we couldn’t respond to anything,” said Francois Beachemin. “We need to think of the mistakes we made and correct them and get back at it.”
At least the next few games are at home. The Ducks play Buffalo on Wednesday, Calgary on Friday, drive up to LA on Saturday and then finish off with Edmonton on Monday. After that, it is back to the airport again. Hopefully the Ducks can get back on track quickly.
Like Colorado, they are fighting for their lives.