You cannot win them all, and even though the Ducks won two out of three meetings with the Dallas Stars, the final meeting was not as successful as the first two. A 3-1 loss to the Stars had errors, whoops, and some missing personnel who might have helped out.
The most noticeable absence was the captain, Ryan Getzlaf, who suffered a right leg injury on Wednesday. Although Getzlaf came back to the ice after tweaking his leg and scored a goal, he has not been seen since.
"It’s day-to-day with him," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "We’re going to see how he is at practice. I know no one wants to play as much as Ryan, but I think at this stage we want to be 100%. We don’t want anything to linger on. As big a game as we think this one is on Sunday, we want to make sure Ryan is ready before he goes in."
The Ducks were missing more than their captain. Jonas Hiller was ill and missed the morning skate. It was bad enough for the Ducks to call up Igor Bobkov from Norfolk. However, as it happened in Minnesota, the Ducks still signed a back up to the back up. This time it was Rob Laurie, who at 42 years old had seen more of the Honda Center than most. Laurie was a goaltender for the Anaheim Bullfrogs back when roller hockey was the thing. He even played in the first professional event held at the Honda Center, way back in 1993.
Laurie got 3:53 on the bench (before Bobkov was ready to go), a jersey with his name on it, and $500 for his single NHL game career. He not only spent time in the roller hockey league, but also played ice hockey as well, primarily with ECHL and AHL teams. All in all, a good night for Laurie.
The rest of the Ducks? Not so good.
Lane MacDermid scored for the second game in a row against the Ducks at 9:03 of the first period. Anaheim was getting great chances against Kari Lehtonen and then on the next shift, the puck went in behind Viktor Fasth.
The lead lasted a whopping :18 seconds before Andrew Cogliano roofed his shot to tie up the game. The Ducks never got any closer.
Kyle Palmieri got a high stick from MacDermid, which led to his linemate, Emerson Etem, picking a fight with Antoine Roussel. Etem was impressive in his first official bout, throwing plenty of punches and giving the fans and teammates energy for the power play to come.
That was when the wind sucked out of their sails. Fasth made an egregious error and was caught out of the net. Eric Nystrom had no problem putting the puck in the empty net to give Dallas a shorthanded goal at 13:54 and the lead.
"They were clearing the puck out of their zone, and obviously I misread the speed of the puck," said Fasth. "Or maybe I overestimated my skating ability. No, you know it was a bad decision by me. I've got to learn from it and do it a different way next time."
Then late in the period Alex Chiasson got his first NHL goal in only his second game at 19:12. 3-1 Dallas and it never changed the rest of the game.
The Ducks had their chances, but just could not convert.
How much did they miss Getzlaf?
"I think everywhere – from leadership in the room to the power play, for sure – to the line stabilities," Boudreau said. "He's a huge part of our team. But we should be good enough. We've got to get better if we're going to be one of the top teams."
The Ducks now get a chance to get better and rebound against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. The Kings will be on the second of back to back games, having played the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Then in a weird twist, Edmonton will have a day of rest before playing Anaheim on Monday as the Ducks finish off back to back games.