And so the winning streak ends for the Anaheim Ducks. The 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday was hopefully a wake up call for a team that fell asleep at the wheel and veered off course, but not before the Panthers pounced.
Florida, a team dwelling at the bottom of the NHL standings, so much so that they replaced their coach a couple games ago, decided that enough was enough.
After falling behind 2-0, the Panthers were clearly disgusted with themselves and from that point on made it clear they were going to get their new coach, Peter Horachek, his first win after three games behind the bench.
A little will and desire go a long way.
Andrew Cogliano scored just :40 seconds into the game and Hampus Lindholm got his second of the year at 14:26.
Another victory for Anaheim seemed a given, but then the Ducks felt they could start cruising. Wrong!
"I thought we were really sloppy and it showed," said Cogliano. "They came out and played hard and got some goals. We didn't play our system well. We didn't move the puck like we wanted and it showed."
The game changer was in the middle of the second period. Shawn Matthias struck first at 13:28 and Scottie Upshall, who seemed to be everywhere on the ice during the game, tied up the game :70 seconds later. It was a fluky goal reminiscent of Corey Perry's against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
Learning nothing between the second and third period the Ducks let the Panthers spend way too much time in Anaheim's zone. The go ahead goal from Brad Boyes at 4:29 was inevitable.
"You could see it happening," said coach Bruce Boudreau. " At 2-0 they were still close enough that if they got one….when a team is down, they start to feel it, they can be a tough team to beat. Fluky goals or whatever, we dug our own hole today."
The third goal did wake up Anaheim from their slumber, but goalie Tim Thomas stopped 13 shots to preserve the lead and a total of 32 on the evening. It was enough to end Florida's nine game losing streak.
On the opposite side of the ice, goaltender Frederik Andersen lost for the first time in seven games after becoming the first NHL goalie since 1993 to win his first six career decisions.
"The way we lost today," said a disappointed Andersen, "it was far from how we want to play."
The Ducks now head up to Tampa Bay to take on a Steven Stamkos-less Lightning on Thursday for game two of a four game road trip. Time to put the foot back on the gas and not take any opponent for granted.