The St. Louis Blues now possess the best record in the Western Conference, tied with the Ducks in points (99) with one more game in hand.
Maybe feeling that pressure can help the Ducks turn their game back on now, on the heels of back-to-back road losses in which they've given up 12 goals to the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Stops at Boston, at Long Island and New Jersey remain on this trip.
Tuesday's 5-3 loss was a dark look in the mirror.
The season-long issues in the second period resurfaced: three goals allowed in the period as a 2-1 lead collapsed in a Blue Jackets shot-fest.
Another late-season swoon reminded. In 2012-13, the second-seeded Ducks won only three of their last eight games and were ousted by Detroit in the first round of the playoffs. Last season, late goalie instability set up the second-round loss to the Kings.
Takeaway No. 1: Ryan Getzlaf has lived it and made it clear in postgame comments this won't do.
"We're not playing our system, not doing the things that made us successful before," Getzlaf said after the defeat. "No point in yelling and screaming after the last game of the year. Now's the time."
Call it a team-wide call-out, even if Getzlaf didn't single out anyone specifically.
"That's within our locker room. You've got to be accountable to yourself, that's the biggest thing," Getzlaf said. "I do. Everyone in the room."
Takeaway No. 2: The answer to the cluster of quality scoring chances Anaheim allowed in the second period?
Defenseman Simon Despres said filmwork and practice is the start.
"We've got to play as a five-man unit, make short passes, put it deep," Despres said. "We didn't do that at times and it cost us."
Forward Andrew Cogliano said, "You think you have answers. Obviously, we don't right now. Comes down to individual mistakes. You make a few mistakes, you're chasing a game on the road, which is tough to do.
"Every time we make a mistake, it's in the back of our head and then – I don't know – they're hoping they don't make another mistake? Things just kind of keep going that way in the second period.
"Good teams don't make those mistakes. They're winning games 2-1 or losing games 2-1, and that's what we need to do. … We're beating ourselves."
Takeaway No. 3: Some messages are getting received.
Forward Matt Beleskey continued the trend of Ducks who've been scratched one game and return the next with a strong performance.
Beleskey had a second-period goal, took a team-high six shots and delivered a team-best four hits.
Takeaway No. 4: The sense of urgency is high.
"Come and play a simple, smart, hard game and see what happens," Cogliano said.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't buying the suggestion that his first-place team is so talented it can revert to its successful style at a moment's notice.