The Ducks have been falling on the wrong side of the little things lately, even when they do a lot of them right. They delivered another stellar third period on Friday, and responded well to a disallowed goal. They took full advantage of the absence of injured Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews and won 49 of 67 faceoffs.
But Chicago converted the chances it did get to hand the Ducks a 3-2 loss in a festive atmosphere at Honda Center, as the heavily red-garbed crowd celebrated the Blackhawks’ fifth straight win in the Black Friday series.
“For the most part we did some good things,” Ducks center Antoine Vermette said. “We generated good chances. [We had] a few breakdowns in our game. They found a way. That’s what good teams do — they make you pay.”
For the second time in three games, the Ducks fell behind, 3-0. They rallied with goals by Nick Ritchie and Jakob Silfverberg and got clutch saves by goalie John Gibson late, only to end their homestand with three consecutive losses.
Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said three-goal deficits are just unacceptable.
“For us, it’s simple: Let’s buckle down and play a better brand of defense,” he said. “If [it takes] one [goal] to win it, then get the one. If it takes two, then get the two. It’s more these 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 games that are going to have to turn in our favor if we continue to work with the work ethic that we demonstrated in the majority of the game, but not all of the game.”
The Ducks regrouped after a reviewed goal call went against them for the second straight game. Officials determined that rookie Ondrej Kase had batted the puck with his glove, off his body and into the net with Anaheim trailing, 3-1, with 14:26 remaining. A goal cannot be scored “by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck and it is deflected into the net off any player,” according to the NHL’s Situation Room.
Carlyle agreed that it looked like Kase hit the puck with his hand and said officials “made the right call.”
At greater issue for the Ducks is the lack of production from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, on 15- and 13-game goal droughts, respectively.
“Bottom line, a lot of that comes on our heads — me and ‘Perrs’ and whoever’s on our wing,” Getzlaf said. “With me and Perrs not scoring the way we are right now — we’ve got to put pucks in the net. Simple as that.”
Vermette’s line has taken up some slack. His left wing, Ritchie, made it 3-1 with a wicked wrist shot from the high slot late in the second period. Silfverberg, who hit two posts, scored on a wraparound with about 11 minutes left.
Chicago prevailed on second-period goals by Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman, who was the beneficiary of hustle plays by Dennis Rasmussen and Marcus Kruger to free the puck. Goalie Corey Crawford improved to 5-0 in the Black Friday series with 34 saves.
Anaheim has led once, 1-0 in the first period Tuesday against the New York Islanders, in its last three games.
“It’s not an ideal situation, but I feel like we’ve been doing a good job with it and not getting too frustrated,” Silfverberg said. “It’s something we’re working on. It’s not the position you want to be in. We have confidence in the group to come from behind. [Saturday], we’ll make sure to get the lead.”
Center Logan Shaw, who appeared in 53 games last season for Florida, made his debut for the Ducks on Friday. He logged 6:41 of ice time, made two hits and had one shot on goal.
AT SAN JOSE
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 830
Update: The Sharks have won two straight since they locked up defenseman Brent Burns with an eight-year contract extension worth a reported $64 million. San Jose is 7-2 at home.