“They’re playing as good as anybody,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said of L.A.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau called his first-place team’s showing against Ottawa “maddening” and predicted the same type of effort against the Kings will cause an even uglier outcome.
Yet, that’s the conundrum with the Ducks, who are seeking consistency and want to avoid a roller-coaster ride of playing games to their opponents' caliber.
While losing seven of 10 games Jan. 29 through Feb. 18, Anaheim couldn’t even do that, getting beat up by the playoff-bound likes of Chicago, Washington and Tampa Bay.
So now what against the archrival?
Takeaway No. 1: Learn the lesson.
Fowler hit the post on one shot in Wednesday’s loss, but he hit the net in analyzing the symptom of defeat.
“The evidence is there for us,” Fowler said. “When we get pucks to the net, normally there’s a rebound, and we get second- and third-chance opportunities. That’s how we score goals. We’re a meat and potatoes-type of team. The second that we get away from that is when we’re in trouble.”
Takeaway No. 2: Eight shots in the second period, seven in the third, are uncharacteristic.
“You can’t have an emotional game and then come back the next night and not play well,” Ducks right wing Corey Perry said after his team-high five shots went for naught following Monday’s thrilling comeback, shootout win over former Western Conference rival Detroit.
“It’s something in here … you have to go out and perform each and every night. Last game’s last game. You have to focus on the next one. Come playoff time, they’re all going to be emotional, so you’ve got to be ready to handle that during the year.”
Takeaway No. 3: In addition to increasing shots, the Ducks need to tighten up the precision of their line changes.
One bad switch set up a breakaway by former teammate Bobby Ryan.
“Not changing at the right time, spending too much time in our zone because we’re not changing,” Boudreau said. “Then, we get it out of our zone, we’re dumping it in, so there’s no forecheck, no offense. Then, the situation is repeated. We’ve got to get smarter at this, learn to change at the right times.
“We’re playing, it seems, to the level of every team we play.
“It’s not saying, ‘Come on, please boys, let’s do it.’ Some guys have got to … it’s an 82-game schedule.”
Takeaway No. 4: Jiri Sekac’s debut … .
It happened. He played 14 minutes, 35 seconds, delivering a hit and shot with some time on the first and second line. There were instances the newly acquired forward from the Montreal Canadiens flashed skill, but Boudreau classified it a transition game.
“Skilled player, it’s got to be tough on him. He doesn’t know the linemates, he’ll be better once he gets a couple practices under his belt,” Boudreau said.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire