But in the final 11 minutes of regulation and overtime, the Ducks rallied for three goals to turn what had looked to be a morale-draining loss into a character-building win.
"It wasn't our best game," said Ryan Getzlaf, who scored the winner 45 seconds into overtime. "The fact that we found a way to win the hockey game is a good thing. That's the difference between good teams and mediocre teams."
Here are some takeways from the win:
It's usually all or nothing for the Ducks
The team leads the
I'm not sure what that means but Tuesday's game had a chance to go either way for much of the third period, and when Carolina failed to add to its two-goal lead, things began to swing the Ducks' way.
"They had their opportunities to bury us. But when a team doesn't put another team away, bad things usually happen," said Coach Bruce Boudreau, whose Ducks were outshot 17-5 in the third period and faced a pair of 5-on-3 Carolina power plays yet still managed to take the game to overtime.
Speaking of tight wins, the Ducks have gone to overtime 18 times in 51 games, matching their total from all of last season. Since the start of the 2012-13 season, the Ducks are 64-6-20 in one-goal games.
Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen was under a withering assault in the last two periods, facing 29 shots. However, he stood up to the pressure for his 48th win in 65 career decisions, making him the fastest goalie to 48 wins in 71 years. Montreal's Bill Durnan also won 48 of his first 65 decisions in 1944.
Andersen has won eight of his last nine starts and is second in the NHL with 28 victories. J.S. Giguere's team record of 36 wins is well within Andersen's grasp with 31 games left
This is no time to rest on their laurels
The Ducks share the NHL lead with 33 wins and 72 points, but they'll play the two other teams with a piece of those leads on their five-game, eight-day roadtrip, which begins Thursday in Nashville.
The Ducks will also meet