Second legs of back-to-backs are never easy, especially against a speedy team like the Dallas Stars.
Yet with three goals in the first period, things looked up for the Anaheim Ducks. A pair of special teams goals in the second period helped turn the tide though, as the Stars rallied to earn a 4-3 win thanks to a goal with 1:28 remaining from Antoine Roussel and Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
"The beginning of the second period we played pretty well; we had some chances, they we just let up. It's not acceptable, especially the way we played in the third period," Carl Hagelin said to Julie Stewart-Binks on the Prime Ticket Broadcast after the game after the Ducks fell to 1-6-2 on the season. "We had one or two shots, and that's not enough."
The Stars outshot Anaheim 34-20 for the game, with a 28-11 edge over the final two periods. The shot attempts numbers are even more stark, as Dallas out-attempted the Ducks 59-47, with Anaheim attempting just seven shots over the final 25:20 of the game while the Stars attempted 35.
"It's demoralizing. We had a three-nothing lead, you should not lose a game like that. We can sugarcoat it and say 'ran out of gas' or whatever, but these guys are professional athletes. There should be no such thing as running out of gas," said head coach Bruce Boudreau to Stewart-Binks on the Prime Ticket broadcast postgame.
Mike Santorelli opened the scoring with his team-leading second goal of the season on the power play at the 14:44 mark of the first period. With Vernon Fiddler sitting for high sticking, Santorelli's snap shot from the top of the left circle deflected off a Stars player's stick past Antti Niemi for the 1-0 lead.
The Ducks added to their advantage with a two-goal flurry in a span of 14 seconds near the end of the period. First Jakob Silfverberg jumped on a turnover created by an Andrew Cogliano back check and threaded the puck back across the slot to Cogliano, who found a trailing Shawn Horcoff against the grain to hammer it in to the open net. Off the following face off Ryan Kesler created a turnover behind the net that bounced to Corey Perry, who found Hagelin alone in the slot for a wrister blocker side to send the Ducks to intermission with a 3-0 lead.
Dallas clawed back level in the second thanks to two special teams goals. Patrick Sharp scored his 15th goal and 30th point in 31 career games against the Ducks with a power play goal between the circles, then Cody Eakin scored a shorthanded goal after he picked Kesler's pocket on the back check in the Stars defensive zone. Then John Klingberg equalized, as he was allowed to drift down untouched to the bottom of the right circle, where Tyler Seguin found him all alone with a backhand cross-slot pass for the bang-bang finish.
It only seemed a matter of time in the third, with Dallas piling up 17 shots and 24 attempts while the Ducks clearly labored. The dagger came with Hampus Lindholm caught stepping up at the blue line and unable to dispossess Fiddler, who skated in on a two-on-one. His first shot was saved, but Kevin Bieksa was unable to tie up Roussel, who jammed the rebound home with 88 seconds remaining to seal the score line.
"Third period it looks like we lost our composure because we couldn't make a play to get out of our end, and we made a terrible play on a controlled forecheck and they end up winning the game," Boudreau said to Stewart-Binks on Prime Ticket.
Frederik Andersen had another solid outing despite the loss, stopping 31 shots including four during the Stars three power play opportunities. Anaheim was without the services of captain Ryan Getzlaf, who returned to California earlier in the day after it was announced he's been playing through appendicitis.
The Ducks close out the five-game road trip Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center at 5 PM PT.
"I don't know, sort of at a loss right now," said Boudreau to Stewart-Binks on Prime Ticket.