Two periods into their 4-2 loss to the still-unbeaten Flyers, they trailed by four goals and had managed a measly six shots--a record-low for the the third-year team. By then, Eric Lindros had a goal and two assists and John LeClair had scored twice.
Duck Coach Ron Wilson went into the dressing room for the second intermission searching for a shred of the positive thinking that helped him land the job and came up with this: "We promised ourselves that was the worst period we can possibly have this season."
Two goals 30 seconds apart in the third made the score respectable for the eyes of others, but the Ducks didn't fool themselves.
"I don't think there's any question that's not the way we should be playing, not the way we're capable of playing, not the way the Mighty Ducks play," center Bob Corkum said. "It was nice to see us in the third give a solid effort and get a couple of goals, but you're not going to win many games playing 20 minutes.
"Maybe some of our young guys were intimidated by the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup. I don't know, to be honest, but it's got to stop if we're going to have any success at all."
There seems little question that the Flyers are going to have success. They improved to 5-0-1, but have some concern about the condition of goaltender Ron Hextall, who left the game because of a hamstring injury late in the third.
The Ducks' future is a bit more dicey. Their 1-5 start is the worst in their short history. After six games last season, they were 3-3. Their first season, they started 2-2-2.
Even the patience of their heretofore forgiving fans is being tried, and they let it be known at 9:52 of the second with sarcastic cheers for Todd Ewen's shot from the slot--the first of a period that was nearly half over.
"I understand the fans' being disappointed," Ewen said. "The level of competition we've been putting up is a little low."
The Ducks even managed to botch a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity in the second period. Back-to-back penalties on the Flyers' Petr Svoboda and Kevin Haller gave the Ducks a two-man advantage for 1:31. But eight seconds later, the Ducks' Todd Krygier backed into Hextall, who fell to the ice, drawing an interference call against Krygier, turning the 5-on-3 into a 4-on-3, and a futile one at that.
Defenseman Jason York scored his first goal of the season at 7:59 of the third, foiling Hextall's shutout bid, and left wing Garry Valk followed with his first moments later.
Nevertheless, the Ducks have lost their first two home games by a combined score of 9-3, and there have been a few flaws with the vaunted entertainment too. Wild Wing, the team's mascot, fell into a wall of flames he was supposed to jump before the home opener Wednesday. Friday night, management sent the unhurt mascot out to try it again. He succeeded this time, but it was a lame re-enactment: This time, there was no wall of fire.
Next to that Duck, the Ducks looked good.
"I don't know, Wild Wing survived," Wilson said. "It felt like we were getting impaled on the flames too, but we only came out singed. At least we won't have to come onto the ice in wheelchairs [Sunday] against the Jets."
Even Lindros, the NHL's MVP last season, was caught up in Wild Wing's antics.
"So," he asked after the game. "Did the Duck make it?"
Then he unloaded one last casual shot.