Call it a breather, the nature of a rugged spot on the schedule, or a hiccup.
“It’s an excuse,” Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said Wednesday, something he was in no mood to accept after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Ducks, 3-0, at Pepsi Center.
The loss ends Anaheim’s 12-0-2 run that dated to a Feb. 8 regulation loss. The streak was just two games shy of its franchise record for most consecutive games with a point; the loss also marked the team’s first two-game losing skid since Dec. 21-22.
“We weren’t prepared to play … you can say we’re more battle-tested, we’ve played some great hockey teams [lately], but [the Avalanche] are fighting for their lives,” Getzlaf said. “They played a great game and we didn’t show up.”
The loss also cost the Ducks their Pacific Division lead. Anaheim (37-20-9) now trails the Kings by a point by virtue of the Kings’ overtime victory over the Capitals.
The Ducks were unable to sustain major pressure on Varlamov.
“We were all perimeter [shooting]. When we’re playing good, we’re playing to the inside,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Just after Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm hit a post with a shot, Colorado took control on goals by Andreas Martinsen and Shawn Matthias in a 2-minute 12-second span late in the second period.
Martinsen worked the puck to Matt Duchene, then got it back from him to whip a shot past Ducks goalie John Gibson, who was on a 7-1-1 run since Jan. 20, but too often was abandoned Wednesday.
“We got away from the way we play,” Boudreau said. “I think we gave up more odd-man rushes in a five-minute span than we had given up in the last 15 games. … We have to play with structure.”
It didn’t help that the Ducks lost defenseman Sami Vatanen with an upper-body injury before those two goals. Vatanen was plus-five with two goals and eight assists since Feb. 16.
Vatanen will be evaluated Thursday, Boudreau said, calling the first-period injury a “day-to-day” matter for now.
Colorado, which began the night tied with Minnesota for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, played with appropriate urgency in the opening period to lead 1-0.
Beauchemin has set a career high in blocked shots this season. He knocked down a second-period open look by Jakob Silfverberg and had the second assist on Martinsen’s goal before absorbing a late stick to the chest by frustrated Ducks forward Jamie McGinn.