For a team that had a record January, the one blot was loss to the Dallas Stars before the All Star break. Having won again in Phoenix the night before, you would have thought the Ducks could continue that momentum meeting up with the Stars once more.
Dallas did circles around the Ducks, who did not do well in the 6-2 loss.
The first question that comes to mind is why was Jonas Hiller in net for the second night in a row? He looked tired, wasn’t sharp and isn’t that why you have a back up goaltender in the first place? Jeff Deslauriers isn’t there just to look pretty on the bench. And even if he isn’t the regular back up guy (Dan Ellis is out with a groin strain for a while), he still has NHL experience and can handle his own in net.
Matt Beleskey got the scoring started at 5:14 of the first period. His shot went off of Stephane Robidas’ stick and lifted over the shoulder of Kari Lehtonen. It was eerily like the only goal a week prior where Alex Goligoski’s shot went off of Cam Fowler and into the net and proved to be the game winner.
That was where the similarities ended. After that goal, it was all Dallas.
First it was Eric Nystrom at 13:56. Then Vern Fiddler took advantage of a turnover to give Dallas the lead at 16:41. Not done with turnovers, the Ducks handed it over again and Jamie Benn roofed a beauty of a shot behind Hiller at 17:50. Benn looked like he was still competing in the accuracy competition at the All Star weekend, and certainly has healed from his emergency appendectomy.
3-1 Ducks. Game over. Only there were two more periods to go. And Hiller stayed in net.
“Three bad plays,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “The first one we got outmuscled in front of our net. The third one was just a terrible giveaway. The second one … again, outmuscled and outworked at the blue line. I don’t want to say those things happen because I don’t want them to happen, but that’s what happened. We got outmuscled and we lost the battles.”
Lost the game, too.
Robidas added a power play goal at 7:14 of the second period. Luca Sbisa, responsible for those ugly turnovers in the first period, redeemed himself slightly with a goal at 8:36 to make it 4-2. That was as close as they came.
Sheldon Souray gave the Stars a three goal lead once again just :36 seconds into the third period. Michael Ryder added the icing on the cake at 17:34. If there were any Ducks faithful left who were hoping for a miracle, they could have headed to their cars and gone home. There was nothing to see.
“I thought we played 12 really good games in a row,” Boudreau said. “Tonight, we didn’t. We stunk.”
The Ducks now meet up with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday evening. The Blue Jackets are the worst team in the NHL, and they will still be angry about getting gypped out of at least a point on Wednesday against the Kings. The NHL is still investigating whether or not the goal scored by the Kings in the final second of the game should count or not. There may or may not have been a final second. If not, would the NHL award a point to Columbus and take one away from the Kings?
For now, the Blue Jackets want to make sure they earn two in regulation. So do the Ducks. They might not be playoff contenders, but the game should be a good one, nonetheless.