February did not start off well for the Ducks. Not only did they lose to the Dallas Stars at home, only their third loss at the Honda Center this season, they were shut out 2-0.
When is the last time the Ducks were shut out in a game? March 27, 2013. Nearly a year ago.
At least the Ducks did not look as lackluster as they did in their loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Their main failing was being unable to solve former goaltender Dan Ellis, who made 26 saves.
"It’s always fun to come back here," said Ellis. "I loved my time here. Still the best place I’ve ever played and lived in but it was good to get those two points for us tonight."
Ellis also earned two points for Dallas the last time the two teams met this season. Thankfully, the Ducks won't have to meet them again in the regular season, now that Dallas is in a different division.
"He did a nice job against them last time we played them," said Dallas coach Lindy Ruff. "From the looks of things, we may have to play him more. He gave us a rock-solid game. We only had a couple big breakdowns and he was there for us."
Jonas Hiller was minding the net at the other end and did not do a bad job, only allowing Trevor Daley's goal at 5:03 of the second period.
"I don’t think we played really good the first two periods," said Hiller, who made 25 saves. "It just didn’t seem to work out. We had some chances in the third, but Ellis played pretty well. We weren’t able to find the back of the net."
Sending Hiller to the bench for the extra attacker still did not yield a goal for the Ducks. Instead, Jamie Benn sealed the deal with only :29 seconds left to go.
Anaheim, who still leads the NHL with a 40-12-5 record, has been faltering a bit of late.
"It seems like one game we play well, then the next game it seems like we’ve lost everything again," observed Hiller. "Right now it doesn’t feel like we have that consistency where every day we come in and want to go out and give 100%. We wait and see what’s going to happen, then start getting into the game. Sure, it’s worked for us earlier, but at some point you can’t always think you’re going to come back in the third and win the game."
The Ducks, who are only 4-4 in their past eight games, need to get it together. Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets might be a good time to start.
"When things aren't going your way, you might lose confidence," Hiller said. "We need to get another streak going."
In other notes: The Ducks will have to get a streak going with Nick Bonino, who was put on IR after suffering an upper body injury on Thursday night against Philadelphia. Dave Steckel was called up in his absence.
Defenseman Mark Fistric left the game against the Stars with a lower body injury and did not return. He is listed as day to day. Nonetheless, Sami Vatanen was recalled from Norfolk, which indicates it could be longer than a game.