Yet with just one regular-season game left before their NHL playoff run begins next week, that’s exactly where the Ducks find themselves.
“You have to forget it and move on,” Ducks forward Matt Beleskey said. “We didn’t have a lot of emotion.”
After two lackluster efforts this week, is a one-game repair -- Saturday in Arizona -- enough to energize for the playoffs?
“I hope so, we have to, there’s no other option now,” Ducks right wing Corey Perry said. “You have to be ready to play. Playoffs are tough. It’s going to be a grind. We’ve got to be ready to play.”
That comeback knack … don’t bank on it
“It didn’t help tonight,” Perry said. “You’d like to say you can come back from a couple goals down, but it doesn’t happen every night. And it’s not going to happen in the playoffs.”
Many of the Ducks from last season’s second-round elimination at the hands of the Kings have complete recall of how difficult it is to rally when a playoff entrant seizes a lead and reverts to lockdown mode.
“You’ve got to get the lead and play with the lead,” Perry said.
Second straight Western Conference No. 1 seed seems likely
The Ducks will practice Thursday afternoon and can then relax and see if some other chips fall into place.
The Kings could be eliminated with a loss at Calgary. Winnipeg could clinch a wild card by winning at Colorado. St. Louis needs to defeat visiting Chicago to keep its No. 1 pursuit in good shape.
All Anaheim has to do, for sure, is defeat lowly Arizona (24-48-8) on Saturday.
No individual battles were decisively locked up
One came on a two-man advantage that included a hooking call against defenseman Clayton Stoner.
With defenseman James Wisniewski a healthy scratch, Stoner hurt his bid to stay in the postseason lineup by also making a second-period turnover that was quickly turned into a 1-0 Dallas lead.
The $13-million free-agent pickup in the off-season shined for Minnesota in last season’s playoffs.
“We’ve been practicing hard, but I take responsibility for that first goal, and when you give up a tough goal like that ... it’s not the start you want ... it’s tough to rebound from that,” Stoner said.
The coach doesn’t want to see that again
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau torched his team in a timeout that followed a third goal in the second period.
Boudreau has never led his team past the second round of the playoffs, and he’s certainly heard the chatter that his team -- given its second-period woes and 225 goals against (worst among Western Conference qualifiers) -- is ripe for an upset.
“It didn’t seem like we had any energy or life,” Boudreau said. “I wish I had an answer to why we were that bad after five days of rest.”
Find the answer.
Or find the exit.