Playing the defending Eastern Conference champion in a nationally televised game, the Ducks' showcase night deteriorated into embarrassment Sunday.
The New York Rangers, riding two goals from Derek Stepan and three assists from Keith Yandle, torched Anaheim, 7-2, at Madison Square Garden to complete a season sweep and hand the Western Conference leaders their most lopsided defeat of the season.
“All you can do on these types of nights [is] burn the tape, move on, get ready to play the next one,” Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said after the Ducks (46-21-7) sloppily committed nine giveaways with just one takeaway while missing 21 shots.
“Disgusting game, we're not happy.”
Getzlaf refused to lean on the excuses of a cross-country trip the day before or the comfort of Anaheim's wide lead in the Pacific Division.
New York (46-18-7) could've shown fatigue, too, after winning in a shootout Saturday night in Carolina.
Yet, the Rangers scored three goals on seven shots in the first 10 minutes and 16 seconds, forcing the benching of Anaheim's starting goalie Frederik Andersen en route to ending the Ducks' four-game winning streak.
The fact that two of the goals were aided by a deflection and that Andersen was screened by traffic on the other didn't matter, the goalie said.
“All three … they went the wrong way for us, and then we stopped playing,” Andersen said. “We have some really important lessons to learn and better learn them quick.
“We can't just get down, feel sorry for ourselves and get scored on. You've got to keep playing. It sounds real simple, but it's something all 20 of us need to do. We didn't do it today.”
The teams combined for five goals in the first 11:12.
Two came from Ducks right wing Corey Perry, whose 31 goals mark the fifth 30-goal campaign by the former Hart Trophy winner.
Stepan's deflected assist and his low shot complicated by the screens made it 2-1. Then, New York's Kevin Hayes spun and shot, the puck changing direction off the skate of Rangers forward Carl Hagelin and skidding under Andersen.
Amid teammates' sagged shoulders, John Gibson was beaten on four of 22 shots. Yandle's third assist came on J.T. Miller's blast early in the second.
Stepan scored again by intercepting a pass from Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin and whipping a shot to Gibson's left.
“They're a good hockey team, came to play and worked us in every facet of the game,” Getzlaf said. “They capitalize. They've been a quick-strike team for years now.”
Two more third-period goals made it a rout, compelling Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau to call timeout and tell his group, “If they can score 12, they're going to score 12. We better not quit playing and [stop] feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Boudreau said he “hoped” the blowout “was an anomaly,” but the Ducks were also handled, 4-1, in January by the Rangers in Anaheim. The teams are now in a three-way tie with Montreal for most points in the NHL (99).
“You're playing a team … in the race for No. 1, and we looked more like No. 30 than No. 1,” Boudreau said. “I'm embarrassed by it.”
Perry said the lopsided outcome when “we didn't have our legs early” can be fixed rapidly by attention to detail.
“These last eight [regular-season] games, you've got to be in playoff mode and be ready,” Perry said. “This could be a team we meet in the finals.”