All Andrew Cogliano could do was shake his head in dismay.
The Ducks have lost six consecutive games and this one is going to be particularly hard to swallow.
They finally found the equalizer with 2 minutes 12 seconds remaining after Pontus Aberg redirected Cam Fowler’s man-advantage wrist shot. The deadlock didn’t last long.
The Philadelphia Flyers responded 21 seconds later to regain the lead for good in a 3-2 victory Tuesday in front of 16,450 at Honda Center.
As the crowd headed for the exits at the final horn, it let out a chorus of boos. It’s not just the faithful in the stands who are growing increasingly frustrated with the product on the ice.
“It’s unacceptable and the guys who were on the ice are at fault for that,” Cogliano said. “Five-game losing streak and to give up a goal like that, it’s just a joke.”
A blown assignment led to the deciding goal. The Ducks double-teamed the point and left Nolan Patrick alone in front of backup goalie Ryan Miller. The No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft was ready and waiting in the high slot when Oskar Lindblom fed him the puck for the game winner to end the Flyers’ skid at three games.
The Ducks again were forced to chase the game. Top-line center Sean Couturier opened the scoring with a power-play deflection only 3:07 into the first period.
Aberg tied it 1:45 into the second period with a wrist shot from just above the right faceoff dot, and his play is one of the lone positive developments for the Ducks.
He was picked up off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers two days before the season began, and now that he is receiving regular ice time, he has been a difference maker.
Aberg’s second consecutive multigoal game is the first for a Ducks player since Daniel Winnik accomplished the feat Jan. 21, 2013.
The Ducks need more than a step in the right direction as the season begins to slip away from them. They need victories, pronto.
Ivan Provorov’s tip-in goal 8:57 into the second period ensured the Ducks would play catch-up during the final period, a familiar spot.
“It’s brutal. That’s as high and as low as you get in a matter of 15 seconds,” said Ryan Getzlaf, who called the team’s play embarrassing in a road loss to the Dallas Stars last week.
“Pucks aren’t bouncing the way we want them to all the time. That’s what happens when you play through these spells.”
Coach Randy Carlyle no doubt hopes that it’s just that, a bad spell. The Ducks endured two four-game losing streaks last season, one that culminated with a playoff berth.
They never lost so much as five consecutive games during that campaign, and now find themselves on a six-game skid. Something has to give if the Ducks are going to turn this ship around.
“It’s very disheartening,” Carlyle said. “You can’t put an emphasis on how much [a last-minute goal defeat] hurts your group. … In our minds, we self-destructed. We’ve been in a pretty low period in our life.”
The Ducks’ forward group remains banged up, with several key players out of the lineup, but the back end was healthy through 12 games. That good fortune ended Tuesday as Josh Manson sat out the game because of an upper-body injury.