ANAHEIM, Calif. — If a three-game losing streak is enough to be considered a slump, the Ducks’ 3-1 loss to the Maple Leafs Monday night was a microcosm of that slump.
Once again, Corey Perry was the only Duck to score and Anaheim went 0-for-4 on the power play. They hammered goaltender Jonathan Bernier and outshot the Leafs 44-23 but still, nothing hit the net.
"I thought the last three games I thought we’ve done a great job: We’ve worked hard, we’ve gotten pucks back after shots, we’ve shot pucks. They’re just not going in," said center Ryan Getzlaf. "And I’m not excepting that, it just drives us further, but those are the things that we have to focus on as a group. We spend too much time worrying about the result and not the process."
Three straight games against the top three teams in the Eastern Conference and the Ducks (43-15-7, 93 points), who started the stretch leading the league in points, came up nearly empty earning only two points and falling behind St. Louis by one.
Boudreau called the power-play struggles "frustrating." He said the team constantly works on it but the timing isn't there. #ANAvsTOR
"When it comes to those points, at least they were given up to the East teams and we weren’t giving up four-point nights," Getzlaf said. "We got two points out of three games, we can use that a little bit. We were in all of the games. We played some good hockey teams."
Toronto scored two early before adding another one in the third. Phil Kessel, who’s 73 points is now second in the league, scored in the first period and assisted on both of the others for a three-point night.
Meanwhile, the Ducks pressed harder and harder and each time Bernier denied them.
In a serious attempt to spark some offense, head coach Bruce Boudreau changed up the lines putting fourth-line left wing Patrick Maroon on the top line with Perry and Ryan Getzlaf in the second period. The move worked, as Perry tipped in a long Maroon pass from the crease to bring the deficit back to two goals. Despite the top line seeing the bulk of the work for rest of the night, the Ducks remained scoreless after Perry’s goal.
Perry is still the only player to score for Anaheim in the last two games, now with three goals to his credit and 35th on the season.
"We should have had more guys in front to make screens, tips, and get in the dirty areas," said defenseman Francois Beauchemin. "Right now we’re struggling to score goals because we’re not going to the front of the net and winning those battles and getting those tough goals."
Boudreau lamented the lack of traffic in front of the net as well. Turnovers proved costly and since the Olympic break, the Ducks have gone just 1-for-19 on the power play. It’s more than inconsistencies at this point, it’s a struggle.
"They’re not in this position because they’re a bad hockey club," said former Ducks’ head coach and current Maple Leafs’ head coach Randy Carlyle. "You know there was going to be pushback. They’re a heck of a hockey team and we just found a way."