CALGARY, Canada — When most everything else failed Wednesday night in the Ducks' worst meltdown loss of the season, a bare assessment of the situation was pure perfection.
"Every guy in the room should be completely embarrassed of how they played tonight," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "To start one of the biggest road trips, to have a division rival chasing you down and have a ton on the line … no one played at all. It's unexplainable."
Valiant efforts in losses to Montreal, Pittsburgh and Toronto were one thing.
Making the fourth consecutive defeat a 7-2 rout to the lowly Calgary Flames, the Western Conference's second-worst team and the NHL's second-lowest scoring team, leaves the Ducks (43-16-7) now clearly grasping for a solution and clinging to their slight Pacific Division lead.
"You really have to look in the mirror," Cogliano said after the Ducks gave up two short-handed goals. "If you don't, it's going to get bad in a hurry.
"We have guys who know how to play. We did it all year, been in first place for a long time. We have Olympic champions, guys that have won Stanley Cups, young guys who've played great all year. To do this is not right."
Calgary (26-33-7) led 4-0 with just seven first-period shots in the Saddledome, and forced Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller to the bench 11 minutes and 28 seconds into the night.
"We just weren't prepared, and it wasn't just tonight. It's been a couple nights now," Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen said. "We think we can get away with playing easy hockey."
After surrendering their Western Conference lead to the St. Louis Blues within the week, the Ducks now find themselves holding a two-point Pacific Division lead over the San Jose Sharks.
It was the Ducks' season-worst goals allowed total.
Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa said before the game that being the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference "is all we think about right now."
"If you're not No. 1 … you don't want to play the Kings or San Jose in the first round [and] the team that plays the best going into the playoffs usually goes deep," Sbisa said.
The Ducks are intimately aware of that second point after limping into the playoffs last year as the No. 2 seed with an 8-9-2 close to the regular season. They then exited in a first-round playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings.
Flames defenseman Mark Giordano opened the assault with a blue-line shot that appeared to clip the stick of Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri, who also might've shielded Hiller.
A Hiller glove save was quickly followed by a short-handed goal when Calgary forward TJ Galiardi capped a two-on-one breakaway.
The defense already under fire, rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm committed hooking and the Flames scored 37 seconds later when center Mike Cammalleri rebounded a Mikael Backlund shot that bounced off Hiller's leg pad.
In came Andersen, but two minutes later, in went another goal with Calgary center Paul Byron tipping in a pass.
"It was horrible — defensive zone coverage, didn't give much support to our goalies, most were tap-ins or grade-A chances they capitalized upon," Allen said.
The Saddledome masses roared in applause after the first, the home team dominating an Anaheim team that started the night with a 15-1-2 record against the Pacific Division.
Flames center Corban Knight capped the scoring with his first career goal with 1:57 left in the game.
"Trying to understand how that can happen in the race we're in.… I really have nothing," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They better do some soul searching."