Good things usually keep snowballing into more good things. Bad things have a way of doing the same thing, but in the wrong direction. The Ducks are currently rolling downhill with three losses in a row, their most recent coming at the hands of the San Jose Sharks on Monday night.
As if consecutive losses to the Detroit Red Wings were not enough, Anaheim continued their current trend of not sticking to their game plan and not showing up until later in the game when facing the Sharks. Most of the season the Ducks have worked hard, been patient, stuck to the game plan and most importantly had the confidence that they can win, no matter the score. They need to get that back if they want to correct the course they are currently on.
Is fatigue finally catching up? Possibly, but no more than other teams also enduring the shortened and compressed season.
"No excuses," said Corey Perry. "Everyone's got short days. It's a little adversity we've got to deal with."
At least the game ended on a high note for the Ducks, despite the 5-3 final score. Anaheim needs to take that kind of effort and put it in the full 60 minutes when they meet San Jose again on Wednesday up at the Shark Tank.
The Ducks have fallen behind before, but when you spot a team three goals, you are digging yourself a huge hole.
Brent Burns scored at 5:46 of the first period, followed by Joe Pavelski at 7:10. Mart Havlat's goal :34 seconds into the second period finally pushed a button the Ducks, who responded.
Emerson Etem put the Ducks on the board at 8:16 of the middle frame and Francois Beauchemin brought them within one goal :58 seconds into the third period.
The Sharks thought they had their fourth goal on the power play at 7:56 from Logan Couture. Couture had batted the puck out of the air, and it was ruled no goal on the ice because it was assumed to be over the crossbar in height. Because the long review proved inconclusive, it remained no goal.
Not to worry. James Sheppard, who had not scored since December 2009, did add the game winning goal at 10:04.
Perry, whose ill-timed turnover led to Pavelski's goal in the first period, redeemed himself with a goal of his own at 18:20.
With Viktor Fasth vacating the net, the Ducks hoped to get the equalizer and push the game into overtime. Antti Niemi would not budge and Dan Boyle put in the empty netter at 19:32 to seal the deal for San Jose.
"We obviously didn’t play our game for the first period and a half," said Perry. "We didn’t start well and it eventually caught up to us."
The Ducks had an opportunity to redeem themselves against Detroit when they played two games in a row against them. They failed in that attempt. Anaheim does not want to fail on this opportunity for redemption and start off a four game road trip on a sour note. Worse, they don't want a four game losing streak.
"We’ve got to just get a little bit of a sense of urgency back in our game," said Sheldon Souray. "We’re starting these games possibly thinking it’s going to be an easy night. We’ve got to understand that we’ve played well all year to put ourselves in the position that other teams are going to be ready for us."
Time to be ready for them, instead.