The only way to describe how the Ducks started off their three game road trip was disastrous. The 7-2 loss to the Calgary Flames was also embarrassing.
"We played like sh**," said Andrew Cogliano, who got his career high 20th goal of the season. "I think every guy in the room should be completely embarrassed about how they played tonight. Every single person. To start a road trip, one of the biggest road trips and have a division rival chasing you down and have a ton on the line, it's [ridiculous] how we played tonight."
I am sure that Fox Sports was not expecting Cogliano to utter an expletive on TV, but it truly was the best description of how the Ducks played, from top to bottom, and was refreshingly honest.
"You pretty much have to look in the mirror and I know it's cliche but if you really don't, this is going to get bad in a hurry because it's not right," Cogliano continued. "We have guys in this room that know how to play. We did it all year. We've been first place for a long time, we have guys that are Olympic champions, we have guys that have been there before and won Stanley Cups and young guys that have been in the organization that have played great hockey this year so to just have this stretch and you know what, we wanted to start this road trip off right. To do this is not right."
How not right?
The Flames, the second lowest scoring team in the NHL, were up 4-0 the middle of the first period. And they had four goals in only eight shots.
First came Mark Giordano at 3:39. The the Flames got their first short handed goal from TJ Galiardi at 7:10. They added a power play goal for good measure thanks to Mike Cammalleri at 11:28.
That was it for Jonas Hiller, who only stopped two out of the first five shots. Frederik Andersen did not fare much better. The first shot he saw bounced off his stick and into the net at 13:28. No, it does not get much worse than that.
Power play? What power play? The Ducks are better waiving that option.
In the second period they allowed another short handed tally to make it 5-0 at 1:31. It was Mikael Backlund's second goal of the game.
"It was horrible," was defenseman Bryan Allen's description of what could only be called a train wreck of a game for a team that had been a strong contender for the President's Trophy until the past couple of games. "Defensive zone coverage, didn't give much support to our goalies, most were tap-ins or grade A chances they capitalized upon."
Cogliano finally put the Ducks on the board at 11:30 of the middle frame, crashing the net and getting it past Joni Ortio, playing in just his sixth NHL game.
Former Duck, Ladislav Smid, gave the Flames back their five goal lead at 18:49.
In the third period, the Ducks needed to regroup and get going. No such luck. Nick Bonino got one in at 7:45, but nothing else made it past Ortio, who was not spectacular because he didn't have to be.
Corban Knight got his first ever NHL goal at 18:03 to make it 7-2.
"It was the seventh goal but for me, it felt like an overtime winner with how I felt after that," Knight said. "It's definitely something I'll never forget. It's pretty special."
The Ducks better not forget this one either. Those who forget are doomed to repeat history. Can't think of anyone who would like to see this one again. Except the Flames.
"Trying to understand how that can happen in the race we're in…" said coach Bruce Boudreau. "I really have nothing. They better do some soul searching."
At this point, losing four in a row, the soul better be the tip of the iceberg. Somewhere you can bet that GM Bob Murray is using more explicit expletives that this is all happening AFTER the trade deadline.
The only small glimmer of hope is that after the Ducks were embarrassed in a 6-1 loss to Colorado to open the season, they rebounded and went on to be the best team in the NHL. Is it ironic that Colorado is who they get to visit once more on Friday to try to do the same rebounding?
Calgary (26-33-7) wasted little time extending Anaheim's struggles by getting to Jonas Hiller early.
Mark Giordano stepped into a slap shot from the point that clipped the stick of Anaheim forward Kyle Palmieri and deflected up over Hiller's glove 3:39 after the opening puck drop. It was Giordano's 11th goal, matching the career high he set in 2009-10, and came on Calgary's first shot of the game.
Hiller denied Mikael Backlund's shorthanded 2-on-1 chance on the Flames' second shot but wasn't as fortunate on the third, a TJ Galiardi's tap-in on a pass from Paul Byron's 3-on-1 setup while Calgary was still down a man to extend the lead to 2-0 at 7:10.
Mike Cammalleri's power-play marker at 11:28 made it 3-0 and sent Hiller to the bench in favor of Frederik Andersen.
He didn't fare any better.
With Byron driving to the net, Backlund centered a pass that redirected off Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin and over Andersen's pad to extend Calgary's lead to four with 6:32 remaining in the period.
The Flames' first four-goal period of the season was met with a standing ovation from those in attendance as the team departed down the tunnel for the first intermission.
The cheers resumed when Backlund added a second shorthanded goal, his 15th goal of the season, 1:31 into the second period. He snapped a shot through Andersen's legs to put the Flames up 5-0. Calgary leads the NHL with 11 shorthanded goals.
Cogliano got the Ducks on the board at 11:30, taking a pass off the stick of Jakob Silfverberg from below the goal line and beating Joni Ortio.
But with 1:11 remaining in the period, defenseman Ladislav Smid made it 6-1 with his first goal as a member of the Flames. Byron's attempt to drive to the net was denied by Andersen, but he corralled the rebound and spotted Smid alone in the slot. The veteran defenseman found the back of the net for his second of the season and first since Oct. 22nd, a span of 55 games.
Nick Bonino beat Ortio to the blocker side at 7:45 of the third, but rookie Corban Knight scored his first NHL goal with 1:53 remaining to cap the night.
Anaheim's road trip continues on Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. The Avs moved into third place in the conference and second in the Central Division after a 3-2 victory over Chicago on Wednesday night.
"We have to be better, simply because [Colorado] already beat us 6-1 [in the season opener]," said Cogliano. "They’re playing very good hockey."