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Missed opportunities in overtime are costly for Ducks in 2-1 loss to Jets

Jets forward Blake Wheeler, right, knocks the puck up and away from Ducks goalie John Gibson during the third period of a game on April 5.

Jets forward Blake Wheeler, right, knocks the puck up and away from Ducks goalie John Gibson during the third period of a game on April 5.

(Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)

The badly needed point was there for the taking.

The Ducks played with the puck for most of overtime. They generated chance after chance. Ryan Getzlaf had a breakaway backhand attempt in the three-on-three session, only to see the puck go into Winnipeg goalie Michael Hutchinson.

“I thought I got a little piece of his pad on the right side,” Getzlaf said. “I thought it was open for a minute there, and obviously it wasn’t.”

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That basically described the missed window of opportunity for the Ducks in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Jets on Tuesday at Honda Center.

The Ducks lost a 1-0 lead on a late defensive breakdown, then watched Blake Wheeler’s shot trickle over goalie John Gibson’s left arm and into the net for the game-winner with 1 minute 53 seconds left in overtime.

Two points would have set the Ducks up for a potential Pacific Division-clinching game against the Kings on Thursday. Instead, they left with a deflating feeling at Honda Center in their regular-season home finale.

The Kings kept pace with an overtime victory at Calgary to stay with the Ducks. In other words, everything is up in the air for Thursday. Both teams have 99 points.

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“Unnecessary drama, but drama nonetheless,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Winnipeg tied the score when it won a faceoff and worked the puck out to Jacob Trouba, whose shot from the point was tipped by an unchecked Marko Dano with 3:46 remaining in regulation.

The Ducks had their best faceoff man, Ryan Kesler, on the ice, along with the solid defensive pairing of Cam Fowler and Simon Despres. Fowler lamented the play.

“Realistically, it should never have got to overtime,” Fowler said. “A couple of mistakes on my part, and they tie up the game. But we were in position to win, so you can’t really blame it on overtime.”

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Gibson made his fifth consecutive start, his longest such run since December, and is expected to play Thursday with Frederik Andersen recovering from a concussion.

Andersen has taken the ice for several days and the hope is that he might play before the regular season ends if he continues to progress.

Gibson helped the Ducks kill three penalties, including a tripping minor by Nate Thompson in the third period. The Ducks finished the regular season with a 90% success rate at home on the penalty kill.

Gibson made Corey Perry’s first-period goal stand up until Winnipeg’s rally. Perry easily put a loose puck in an open net for his 33rd goal, which ties his total in 67 games last season. Getzlaf created the chance with a hard slap shot that rattled off the goal cage.

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Boudreau agreed with Fowler’s assessment that the Ducks didn’t make it hard enough on Hutchinson.

“I thought we were, until the third period, just playing to play with them,” Boudreau said. “We weren’t pushing like we did against Dallas [on Sunday].”

Despres returned to the lineup. He sat out the previous six games because of an upper-body injury.

The Ducks remain without injured forwards Brandon Pirri, David Perron and defenseman Kevin Bieksa, and center Rickard Rakell is recovering from an appendectomy.

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Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @CurtisZupke


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