After defeating the Boston Bruins 3-1 in their first game following the All-Star break, the Ducks drop to 1-2-1 on their current five-game road trip. Following losses to the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens in their previous two games, the Ducks depart Canada with one out of a possible six points.
For the first time this season, the Ducks have allowed at least five goals in back-to-back games.
Anaheim and Toronto both finished 1-for-3 on the power play, extending a dangerous trend for the Ducks who have surrendered a power-play goal for the third consecutive game.
Despite the loss, it was a dynamite night for the Ducks’ top scoring unit of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell who finished with a combined nine points: Rakell had a pair of goals, including his 20th of the season, while Perry dished out four assists for only the second time in his 13-year career.
While only one goal was scored in the first period, the opening frame featured plenty of chances. The Ducks’ best came early, with Kevin Bieksa firing a one-timer that beat Maple Leafs’ goaltender Frederik Andersen but rang the right post. Minutes later, Perry nearly flipped a back-hand shot past Andersen after finessing the puck between his own legs in the Toronto slot.
As Andersen turned aside all the Ducks’ chances, it was the Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews that opened the scoring 6:32 into the contest after he beat Bieksa wide and scored on a wrap-around before Ducks goalie Ryan Miller could stick his pad to the left post.
The Ducks tied the score, 1-1, on a nifty spin-around pass from Rakell to Getzlaf 43 seconds into the second period. It was the beginning of a wacky middle frame that featured a combined six goals — Rakell and Ondrej Kase (power-play goal) added tallies during the second that briefly put the Ducks ahead 3-2 with 11:06 remaining in the period. However, the Maple Leafs scored twice in a span of 2:12 to enter the third with a 4-3 advantage.
Rakell tied the score on a sharp angle shot 2:07 into the third to even the score 4-4, but the Ducks never recaptured the lead. The Maple Leafs’ William Nylander bested Miller on a breakaway try for his second of the game 1:21 after Rakell’s goal to give Toronto a 5-4 advantage. The Maple Leafs scored twice more, including once into an empty net, in the final four minutes to bring their total to seven and hand the Ducks their third straight defeat.
While goals were aplenty, the game also featured a scary moment midway through the second period. The former Duck Andersen had to leave early after being clipped in the mask by Perry’s wayward left skate when the Ducks forward was upended by a Toronto defenseman in the crease. Andersen was replaced by another former Duck, Curtis McElhinney, who stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced the rest of the way.
The Ducks are back at it again Tuesday, wrapping up their road trip with a 4 p.m. PST match-up against the Buffalo Sabres.