Things never seem to go well for the Ducks when Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals come to town. The 3-2 loss to the Capitals in front of a sell out crowd on Tuesday was no exception.
And Anaheim only had itself to blame.
"That game tonight came down to our special teams not being special," said defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who had one of the Ducks two goals. "They were able to get very easy goals on their power play, and that was the difference in the game."
The special teams looked more like special needs.
The Ducks got six power play opportunities, including a nice long juicy 5 on 3. Did they score on any of them? Nope.
Mathieu Perreault did score at 1:32 of the third period, just one second after a power play had expired, so that was close. But still no cigar. As Perreault commented about the 5 on 3, you have to find a way to get a goal.
"We shot today," said coach Bruce Boudreau about the anemic power play. "We just didn’t pay the price in front of the net until the end. We had a lot of looks, and we were shooting the puck, but we weren’t getting to any loose pucks."
The Capitals, on the other hand, did not have to work very hard to get a couple power play goals.
The tally from Troy Brouwer at 19:50 of the first period came just :21 seconds into their power play. The eventual game winner from Ovechkin at 2:44 of the third period needed just :08 seconds.
"As far as the penalty killing, we knew what they were going to do," said Boudreau. "It's no secret. And we still didn't stop it."
It wasn't Jonas Hiller's fault. He made 27 saves.
And Jaroslav Halak, acquired at the trade deadline, was pretty darn good for Washington. He made 43 saves to make sure the Capitals earned two points and the Ducks did not.
The Ducks did have their chances. They just could not convert. And once again, if the power play had been effective, especially with a two man advantage, it would have been a different game.
Instead, the Ducks remain tied with San Jose, who also lost on Tuesday night. Want to be that is going to be a battle royal on Thursday when the two teams meet in San Jose? One of them will clearly hold the lead in the Pacific Division. The other will be one to two points behind.
One thing is certain – until the Ducks get their head out of their tailfeathers on the power play, every team that they play should have no fear of taking a penalty.
In other notes: Defenseman Stephane Robidas, acquired from Dallas two weeks ago, made his Ducks debut. Robidas had not played since November 29 when he broke his leg. ]
"It wasn’t my best, but the first one is out of the way," said Robidas. "I can move on. My leg is good. I got bumped a few times, and I tried to bump them a few times. Everything is good."