ANAHEIM – It took a window of just 19 seconds for an early Ducks lead to devolve into a one-goal deficit in the opening period. Unfortunately for Anaheim, things didn’t get much better from there in a 5-2 defeat to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs at Honda Center.
In a flash, Anaheim's first-period cushion promptly became a Leafs lead, and the Ducks never recovered as Toronto went on to score three unanswered. Anaheim didn't counter until a Corey Perry goal five minutes into the third, when they already trailed by three.
It marked a seventh straight defeat for the Ducks, who have won once in their last 13. Toronto, meanwhile, improved to second in the Eastern Conference and owns the third-best record in the NHL. They went 3-1 on their four-game mini road trip.
"There has been a lot of talking and a lot of meetings," said a dejected Teemy Selanne. "There really is no answer. It seems to me that nothing works. When things go bad, they really go bad. You try to stay positive and find some bright sides, but I don’t really see any bright sides really. It’s just unbelievable right now. I don’t know what to say."
Added linemate Saku Koivu, "We have to be concerned with what is going on. At this point, we can’t think for a second that there is enough game to get back. We have to figure out what is causing this, how we can turn it around and get back to winning."
Halfway into the first period, with the Ducks on the power play, Selanne made a nice backhand pass to Francois Beauchemin for the one-timer that sailed past a Devante Smith-Pelly screen and under the crossbar.
But later in the period the Leafs roared past Anaheim with two goals in a span of 19 seconds. A Nate Guenin elbowing penalty was followed by a Tyler Bozak power play goal at 14:10, which former Duck Joffrey Lupul set up by sending the puck between his legs to John-Michael Liles, who fed Bozak for the goal.
Just as that goal was being announced, Tim Connolly took the puck away from Toni Lydman at the Anaheim blue line and got it to Clarke MacArthur for a slap shot that appeard to deflect off Luca Sbisa's stick before whistling past Jonas Hiller’s head.
The hole got even deeper for the Ducks just 2:36 into the third, when Toronto spent an eternity in the Anaheim end, and a Luke Schenn shot from the point was tipped in by Joey Crabb with his back to the net.
The Leafs struck again early in the third, this time to make it a three-goal game, as Bozak delivered his second of the night, chipping in a rebound off a Phil Kessel shot on the rush.
Anaheim scrambled back 5 1/2 minutes into the period, as Perry skated out from the corner and roofed a shot over goalie Jonas Gustavsson’s shoulder. It was the 10th of the year for Perry, who has four goals in his last five games.
But the Ducks would get no closer, even when they sent Hiller to the bench for an extra attacker with a minute and a half left. Instead, after they lost the puck in the Toronto end, a Schenn clearing attempt hit the foot of Ryan Getzlaf and slid slowly into the abandoned net.
"I think everybody hates this situation," Selanne said. "Night after night we are doing the same mistakes. The last couple of games, we have scored the first goal and come out with a lot of energy. Then there is one bad play. There is no mental toughness right now"
The Ducks host another opponent from the Eastern Conference on Wednesday night when Montreal visits Honda Center to finish out a rough month of November for Anaheim.
"When you look at the way we play and the results of the last three weeks to a month, it’s very obvious that we are not playing the way we have to as a team," Koivu said. "We are not executing the way we are supposed to. We are not on the same page."
3rd Period 20:00 - END OF GAME - Leafs 5, Ducks 2.
19:48 - TORONTO GOAL (EMPTY NET) - LUKE SCHENN - Ducks lose the puck between the circles in the Toronto end, where Schenn clears it off Getzlaf's foot, the puck deflecting slowly down the length of the ice and into the empty net. This one's over, 5-2.
18:30 - Hiller to the bench.
15:55 - Selanne with a couple of chances in deep, but can't send it through.
14:39 - TOR Penalty - Dion Phaneuf, 2 min., high sticking. That's Phaneuf of that, as he gets the stick into Ryan's face in the corner. Ducks on a power play they have to cash in right now.
12:36 - Ducks are able to kill it, keeping them in this game for now.
10:36 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. slashing. Koivu slices a Toronto stick in half.
I've noticed Gustavsson likes to skate out near the blue line and stretch his arms after Toronto goals and/or stoppages in play. Unfortunately, we've seen that after the goals far too many times tonight.
5:38 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Perry picks up the puck in the corner and skates out to a better angle, waiting as Aulie dives to block the shot, then roofs it over Gustavsson's left shoulder. Relatively faint cheer from a crowd that was waiting for something to cheer for, and it's 4-2. That's Perry's 10th of the year, fourth in the last five games.
0:47 - TORONTO GOAL - TYLER BOZAK - Seconds after Perry just misses from right of the net, the Leafs get on the rush. Bozak feeds Kessell for the shot that rebounds hard of Hiller, where Bozak chips it into the open net for his second of the game. It's 4-1 Leafs.
0:00 - Puck drops for the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Crabb's goal early in the period is all the scoring in this one.
19:05 - Cogliano slaps at a loose puck, but Gustavsson makes the save.
16:45 - Ducks starting to fire heavily on the Leafs net.
14:28 - Hiller nicely snags a Dupuis bid.
9:20 - Koivu gets in deep for the shot, steals the puck then loses it.
7:50 - Hiller stop on Kulemin comes after Ducks can't get the puck out of their own end.
3:33 - Hiller reaches out to grab a Franson shot with the trapper. Thank goodness.
2:36 - TORONTO GOAL - JOEY CRABB - Leafs spend an eternity in the Anaheim end and finally make it pay off, as Schenn lets go of a slapshot that Crabb tips through with his back ot the net. It's 3-1 Toronto.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks take the lead on Beauchemin's goal, but give up two in 19 seconds to trail 2-1.
19:20 - Getzlaf essentially takes the puck away from Perry on the weave, getting it to Ryan for the shot.
14:29 - TORONTO GOAL - CLARKE MACARTHUR - Connolly knocks the puck away from Lydman to MacArthur, who rifles a slap shot that whizzes by Hiller's head. Looks like it hit Sbisa's stick on the way. It's 2-1 Toronto like that.
14:10 - TORONTO GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TYLER BOZAK - After the puck is knocked away, Lupul nicely sends it between his legs toward Liles in front of the goal. He feeds in front to Bozak for the goal. It's 1-1.
9:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN - Selanne bends around the back of the net and backhands it out to Beauchemin, who rips a slap shot through a Smith-Pelly screen and just under the crossbar. Beautiful shot by Beauchemin and it's 1-0 Ducks.
9:40 - Smith-Pelly barely misses yet again.
9:30 - Smith-Pelly tip hits the post, then hust just misses chipping in the rebound.
8:20 - TOR Penalty - Clarke MacArthur, 2 min. tripping. MacArthur pulls down Brookbank near the Anaheim net. Ducks power play comes right after Leafs one ended.
7:30 - Ducks get on a shorthanded 3-on-1, but the puck gets away from Perry as he tries to feed McMillan. Might have shot that one.
Two guys compete during the timeout in Sing for Your Seats, where they sing part of Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC. They're both equally awful, the older guy a little less so. Not a huge fan of giving a mic to fans, but I guess it works.
6:18 - ANA Penalty - Andrew Cogliano, 2 min. high sticking. Cogliano may have been a victim of low-sticking (if you know what I mean) before he went down and his stick hit Phaneuf up high.
2:50 - Brookbank appears to take a puck to the face, but looks okay.
1:38 - Beauchemin rips a one-timer that Gustavsson gloves.
Not positive, but likely just the second Jonas vs. Jonas goalie matchup in NHL history. The last: Ducks vs. Leafs here on October 26, 2009.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
6:07 p.m. - Nice work on both anthems by Dawn Wright.
Ellis is officially out with a groin injury. Deslauriers, called up from Syracuse, is the backup tonight. Starters in bold/italics.