|ATL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||8|
|ANA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
ANAHEIM – One of the handful of problems for the Anaheim Ducks this season has been their tendency to look their worst against some of the poorest teams in the NHL.
That trend continued Sunday night against the lowly Atlanta Thrashers, who had a four-goal second period on their way to an 8-4 demolishing of the Ducks at Honda Center.
"Everything that you don’t want to happen happened," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. "We made our share of mistakes and they scored their share of goals. I guess those nights do happen once in awhile. Unfortunately, we can’t afford right now. That is the worst part of it."
|The Thrashers scored four goals in a span of 6:51 in the second period (three by Kovalchuk) to bury the Ducks.
All the good feelings the Ducks garnered from consecutive victories over the Northwest Division-leading Calgary Flames were wiped away by a Thrashers team that entered the game 14th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference. They had dropped seven of nine games before the game, but hardly looked that way in completely outplaying the Ducks for most of the night.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," said Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf. "We have to regroup now and go back to work. Nothing really needs to be said. Everybody knows what went on. We got embarrassed in our own building tonight."
Leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk had a hat trick among the four goals scored by Atlanta in a span of 6:51 at the start the second period, which put the Thrashers up 6-1 and effectively put the game out of reach.
The Ducks looked like they had a flicker of hope in the third period, when a Bobby Ryan goal at 2:26 made it 6-3 and an Atlanta penalty 3 1/2 minutes later gave Anaheim an opportunity to make it a two-goal game. But that hope went out the door when the Ducks turned the puck over on the power play and Colin Stuart wristed in a shorthanded goal from the right wing that put Atlanta in front 7-3.
Andrew Ebbett managed to bat in a bouncing puck to pull the Ducks to within 7-4 with 10 minutes left in the third, but that was as close as they would get. After an Atlanta penalty, the Ducks emptied the net with three minutes left to give them a 6-on-4 situation. But after Teemu Selanne rang one off the post, Niclas Havelid picked up the puck behind the cage and rang it around the boards into the empty Anaheim net.
"That last goal was a pretty good summation of the night," Niedermayer said. "It’s a pretty frustrating night to be a part of. I know I made my share of mistakes out there. That is where it has to start is I have to be better and we’ll go from here."
The Ducks were outmatched right from the start, as Atlanta outshot them 19-11 in the first period, and Anaheim was lucky to escape with only a 2-1 deficit. But penalties by Bret Hedican and Chris Pronger near the end of the period (capping off five straight minors for the Ducks) gave the Thrashers a long 5-on-3 to start the middle session.
And they capitalized, as Kovalchuk ripped a one-timer that ricocheted off Ducks defenseman Steve Montador before darting inside the post. That goal opened the door for three more Atlanta goals in a span of 2:26, two of them came from Kovalchuk, who had his hat trick when he connected 8:17 into the period to give Atlanta a shocking 6-1 lead. Kovalchuk’s third goal, his team-leading 27th on the year, came less than a half-minute after the Ducks pulled Jean-Sebastien Giguere and replaced him with Jonas Hiller.
"Every bounce ended up on their stick and they were shooting the puck," Getzlaf said. "We are a team that prides ourselves on not giving up so many shots. In the first period, it’s tough when you take that many penalties to get the momentum. We didn’t respond the way we needed to."
|Selanne's two goals were one of the few highlights for Anaheim.
The Ducks managed to get one back with 5:55 left in the second, when Selanne got his stick on a high Bret Hedican shot and tipped it through. It was the second of the game for Selanne, who also scored 5:28 into the first period when he one-timed an Ebbett feed past goalie Kari Lehtonen.
That goal wiped out the 1-0 lead Rich Peverley gave the Thrashers 3:57 into the game, the 10th time in the last 11 contests the Ducks have given up the first goal. But that 1-1 tie for the Ducks became a distant memory after the disastrous first half of the second period.
The eight goals was the most the Ducks have given up since losing 8-0 to the Dallas Stars in 2001. Along with tonight's defeat, the Ducks have suffered losses in the last five weeks to the likes of Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders, each of which were at or near the bottom of the league at the time.
"Those are ones that you bang your head against the wall and you try to figure out how we could perform to the level we performed in," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "It just seemed that we didn’t have anything going in a lot of areas. We tried to battle back, but we just got frustrated. Pucks bounced away form us in every situation. We started to do too much as individuals and just feed their attack."
The Ducks will hope to get it turned around when they take on the rival Kings at Honda Center on Wednesday night.
"What happens as these games wind down, the teams that we are in the pack against, it becomes must-wins when we play those teams," Carlyle said. "We play a bunch of them multiple times. The pressure is going to be squarely pushed toward us. We put ourselves in this situation. We’re responsible for it."
|Rich Peverley (6) ASST: Mathieu Schneider (11), Marty Reasoner (10)|
1 - 0 ATL
|Teemu Selanne (16) ASST: Andrew Ebbett (12), Brett Festerling (4)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Bryan Little (22) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (31), Ron Hainsey (22)|
2 - 1 ATL
|PPG - Ilya Kovalchuk (25) ASST: Ron Hainsey (23), Vyacheslav Kozlov (30)|
3 - 1 ATL
|Colby Armstrong (15) ASST: Erik Christensen (12), Colin Stuart (1)|
4 - 1 ATL
|Ilya Kovalchuk (26) ASST: Todd White (32), Chris Thorburn (6)|
5 - 1 ATL
|Ilya Kovalchuk (27) ASST: Bryan Little (14), Todd White (33)|
6 - 1 ATL
|Teemu Selanne (17) ASST: Brett Festerling (5), Brendan Morrison (11)|
6 - 2 ATL
|Bobby Ryan (19) ASST: Steve Montador (16), Andrew Ebbett (13)|
6 - 3 ATL
|SHG - Colin Stuart (2) ASST: NONE|
7 - 3 ATL
|Andrew Ebbett (3) ASST: Bobby Ryan (18), Teemu Selanne (17)|
7 - 4 ATL
|SHG - EN - Niclas Havelid (2) ASST: Kari Lehtonen (1)|
8 - 4 ATL
|Bryan Little Illegal substitution - bench|
|Mike Brown Fighting (maj) against Chris Thorburn|
|Chris Thorburn Fighting (maj) against Mike Brown|
|Andrew Ebbett Hooking against Erik Christensen|
|Chris Pronger Tripping against Eric Perrin|
|Corey Perry Slashing against Rich Peverley|
|Bret Hedican Hi-sticking against Vyacheslav Kozlov|
|Chris Pronger Cross checking against Todd White|
|Teemu Selanne Hooking against Chris Thorburn|
|Toby Enstrom Roughing against Corey Perry|
|Mathieu Schneider Holding against Travis Moen|
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