All week long, the
They shut off the sentiment through four games, stayed locked in on the demands of a rugged trip and won three times, from Edmonton to Winnipeg to Montreal.
Then Friday's road finale came, home beckoning, fatigue at its peak from a gritty performance the night before. And the outcome showed it.
Ottawa Senators 6, Ducks 2.
"Not a great effort, all the way around," Ducks Coach
"I know we've been on the road 13 of the last 15 days — that doesn't hold anything. That bar's pretty high on our team and when you don't get what you reach for, you get pretty upset."
Boudreau decided on the heels of an emotion-packed victory in Montreal to halt the run of 20 consecutive games by goalie
Making his first start as a Duck since being waived by the team after a Nov. 7, 2007, loss, Bryzgalov, 34, made his first
He gave up a power-play goal just 2 minutes 3 seconds into the game; the Senators (14-12-6) pinning all six on him as the Ducks allowed 31 shots from the
"I don't know what to say. This is not exactly how you want to return. Bad night," Bryzgalov said. "I feel OK, but … I make lots of mistakes, and need to eliminate those mistakes. Watch the game, see what I did wrong, [move] forward."
It wasn't all on Bryzgalov.
By Ducks' standards, the effort was lifeless, the precision sorely absent from a team that leads the NHL with its 22-8-5 record.
On a power play, for instance, Ducks center
Just 41 seconds after that, Ducks defenseman
"We've been through many things, a lot of teams have road trips," Ducks center
"We were missing passes, not crisp, not forechecking. The list goes on."
Getzlaf responded with the game's next two goals, but Hoffman scored again with 5:40 left in the third and it was home for the holidays.
The Ducks' resolve was weakened when defenseman Hampus Lindholm missed his first game of the season after suffering a lower-body injury Thursday. He participated in pregame warmups and classified himself as day to day.
Healthy Ducks forward
Heatley played alongside Getzlaf on the first line, but mustered only one shot in 13:54, finding himself replaced on the line by