The season started off so well for Anaheim. With only four more games left before the playoffs begin, the Ducks seem to be headed in the wrong direction.
A 3-1 loss to Calgary was their fourth in a row. They needed five points to secure the Pacific Division title and all they could muster in the past week was a single point against Columbus on Wednesday. The 3-2 overtime loss, which saw Sami Vatanen get his first NHL goal, was their "best" result.
Four more points in four games? Seems like it should be pretty easy. Back to back games in Edmonton on Sunday and Monday, followed up by a swing into Vancouver on Thursday before coming home for the final game of the regular season on Saturday against Phoenix. Surely they can manage to figure out how to score and win?
Because if they cannot do that, they are going to have a difficult time when the playoffs begin on April 30. Regardless of who their opponent is.
"We have to get in the mindset that our playoffs have started," said Sheldon Souray. "Get our games sharpened up and dialed in. The way we're playing right now, we're not going to be playing long."
The Ducks should have defeated Calgary, but they never even led the game. Goals from Roman Horak and Brian McGrattan left the Ducks in a two goal deficit. Earlier in the season, they could have easily overcome that hurdle.
"They don't have a lot of confidence right now," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "You're not going to win a lot of games scoring one goal."
The Ducks were finally able to score a goal with Corey Perry putting one past Miikka Kiprusoff at 16:19 of the third period.
There was not enough time to rally further and Roman Cervenka's empty net goal with :50.8 seconds left in the game sealed the deal for the Flames.
"I couldn't have cared less if we were playing a midget team or the Russian National Team," Boudreau said. "We needed the win. That should have been motivation enough."
Kiprusoff made 32 saves, and gave the Calgary fans something to cheer about in the final home game. Kiprusoff is expected tor retire at the end of the season, so it could very well have been the last time Calgary got to see "Kipper" at home after 10 seasons with the team.
Meanwhile the Ducks keep talking about turning things around and cleaning things up. Talk is cheap. Action speaks louder than words. Time to put up or shut up on Sunday.
In other notes: Jonas Hiller was in net for the Ducks while Viktor Fasth was out with a lower body injury. Igor Bobkov was brought up from Norfolk to back up Hiller. Teemu Selanne was out for the first time this season with aches and pains and a lower body injury. At his age, Boudreau lets him choose to play or not play. Cam Fowler was back in the line up after missing two games with an upper body injury.