Despite a better effort, the result unfortunately was the same. Facing one of the best teams in the league, the Ducks came up short in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Monday for their fourth straight loss.
There were spurts of life from the Ducks tonight, oddly enough in the few shifts that immediately followed goals scored against them. But in the end, self-inflicted wounds - like multiple turnovers in the defensive zone that led to Tyler Bozak's goal, or John Gibson colliding with teammate Hampus Lindholm behind the net that resulted in Ivan Barbashev's tally - summed up the frustrations hovering above the Ducks over the course of their losing streak.
"Frustrating one," said Ducks forward Devin Shore. "I thought we came out pretty good. Made some mistakes in our end as groups of five. We didn't break the puck out well. Started with communication. We shot ourselves in the foot. They're a really good team over there, so they made us pay."
Facing a Blues team that ranked tied for first in points (with Boston) entering the game, the Ducks knew they'd be in for a stiff test. The Blues came in with an eight-game home winning streak, one shy of the franchise mark set Jan. 26-Feb. 26, 1991. They were also the only team in the league without a regulation loss after scoring first (20-0-5). Anaheim's 4-1 victory in the series opener back in mid-November is just one of four regulation home losses all year for the defending champs.
It took 7:53 for the Blues to strike first when Alexander Steen sent a slap shot from the left corner that sailed over Gibson's outstretched arm.
The Ducks, however, showed some fight. They evened the score at the 15:22 mark of the opening frame when Max Comtois' shot from the high slot made its way through traffic before sneaking past Blues netminder Jake Allen. It marked his fifth goal of the season.
Video: ANA@STL: Comtois buries wrist shot past Allen
The Ducks didn't do themselves any favors early in the second period when multiple turnovers resulted in Bozak's go-ahead goal to make it 2-1 Blues.
Jaden Schwartz doubled the lead with a power-play strike at the 9:41 mark of the middle frame for his 16th goal of the season.
Barbashev made it 4-1 with 9:31 left in regulation when he got hold of a loose puck behind the net and tapped it into a wide open cage after Gibson and Lindholm crashed into each other behind the cage.
The Ducks fell to 17-24-5 with the loss, while the Blues improved to 30-10-7.
"There needs to be urgency, especially now, but in the right way," said Shore. "Urgency is different than panic. If we start panicking, then you get disconnected a little bit. If we're urgent, we have to make sure we're sticking together. That's the only way we'll get through it."
The Ducks will resume their four-game road trip on Thursday night in Nashville.