Maybe an extended break between games wasn't the best thing, after all. Despite being well rested, the Ducks found themselves chasing the game and ended up on the wrong end of a 6-2 final against the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center. The Ducks hadn't played since last Tuesday. Head coach Dallas Eakins wondered how his team would come out after considerable time away from game action.
They found themselves down early - 1:28 into the game - when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pounced on a Ducks turnover behind the net for the first of his two goals in the game. However, the Ducks showed some life when Rickard Rakell tucked a backhand past Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen less than two minutes later. This also happened to be Rakell's 400th career NHL game.
Video: EDM@ANA: Rakell flips home backhand from in tight
Oilers captain Connor McDavid gave the Oilers the lead back at the midway point of the opening frame when he blazed down the wing and snuck a shot past Ducks goaltender John Gibson for his first of three goals on the night.
"We got outplayed," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "We said they were an opportunistic team. They were. We said they were good on the power play. They were. We got outplayed."
Nugent-Hopkins made the Ducks pay with a power-play strike 7:45 into the middle frame, and then Zack Kassian made it 4-1 moments after the Ducks came up empty on a power play of their own. [The Ducks finished the night 0-for-5 with the man advantage.]
"I don't think you can point to one thing in particular," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said on the team's struggling power play. "There's a lot that goes into a power play. The biggest thing is you have to have that killer instinct and tenacity. Even though you have that one extra guy on the ice, you can't play that way. You have to be aggressive. We have to hunt down pucks. We have to get pucks to the net.
"For whatever reason when you're lacking a little bit of confidence, you might look for the perfect play instead of simplifying things. But, we've worked on it so much, we're trying, we've talked about it as a group. It's not a lack of effort thing, it's just for whatever reason the five guys on the ice don't seem to be working as a five-man unit, and we're going to keep working at it until we improve it."
The Ducks made a push early in the third when Max Jones got on the board at the 3:11 mark after muscling his way to the front of the net before roofing it over Koskinen's shoulder for his first goal of the season.
Video: EDM@ANA: Jones lifts puck top shelf from the doorstep
McDavid answered minutes later to give Edmonton a 5-2 lead. He added another at the 13:25 mark of the third to put the game out of reach.
"There's no reason to be flat," said Getzlaf. "We had a few good days of practice. We had some rest days. We just, for whatever reason, when we came out for the game, it just didn't click for us. Whatever the reason is for that, we gotta find something here to get going and get a good day's work tomorrow and get ready for the next one."
With this being Military Appreciation Night presented by Pacific Premier Bank, the Ducks paid tribute to local military members and their families and raised awareness for military nonprofit organization United Heroes League.
Before the game began, the California Air National Guard, 131st rescue squadron from Moffett Field, Calif. rappelled from the Honda Center rafters. Joining them at center ice was Retired Sergeant Richard Silva and his son, RJ, for a ceremonial puck drop.
Video: EDM@ANA: National Guard rappels in for puck drop
In addition, the Ducks wore special camouflage jerseys during pregame warmups that are being auctioned off now until tomorrow at noon PT. You can bid on those jerseys by clicking this link.
The Ducks will continue their homestand on Tuesday night when they host the Detroit Red Wings.