As has been the case most of this season, the line of Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg was took on the opposition's top line Monday night against Washington. That would be Alex Ovechkin and his 41 goals, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, who were held scoreless in the Capitals' shootout win.
Ovechkin did not put a shot on goal until nearly five minutes into the third period, although he finished with five shots.
"They're good players, but I play the same way every night," Kesler said. "I try to outwork the opposition. I thought my line did a good job against them."
The Ducks' franchise-record 11-game win streak ended but they extended their point streak to 14 games and are two games shy of the team point-streak record going into Wednesday's game at Colorado.
Kesler, Cogliano and Silfverberg have played an unsung role in the Ducks' second-half rise. In a week's stretch last month, the line was tasked with defending Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau, Buffalo's Jack Eichel, Edmonton's Connor McDavid and the Kings' Anze Kopitar. McDavid and Eichel were the top two picks, respectively, in last year's draft.
Those four players were held to two assists. And it goes beyond numbers. Kesler induced Ovechkin to commit a tripping penalty in the opening minute that resulted in the Ducks' goal.
It's been a particularly impressive second half for Kesler, who is considered to have a lot of hard miles on his body at 31 because of his physical style. But he's been the foundation of a line that has helped form the Ducks' defensive identity.
"You go back the last 20 games and see how many goals that line has been on against, and they've played everybody's top line," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Home, on the road. It doesn't matter. They've been outstanding. . . . They're the glue of our team."
DUCKS NEXT UP
When: Wednesday, 7 p.m. PST.
On the air: TV: Channel 13; Radio: 830
Update: The Avalanche is fighting for a wild-card spot with the addition of left wing Mikkel Boedker, who has a goal and an assist with a minus-two rating since he arrived from Arizona at the trade deadline. Jarome Iginla is one goal short of his 17th 20-goal season. Matt Duchene set a career high with his 28th goal Monday.
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @CurtisZupke