ANAHEIM -- Two days after enduring a scary and difficult night at Honda Center, the Ducks' attempt at a return to normalcy this evening was a thorny one.
Despite firing 44 shots at Calgary goalie Cam Talbot, Anaheim fell into a deep early hole and couldn't crawl out in a 6-0 defeat to the visiting Flames.
It was the first action for the Ducks since their game vs. St. Louis on Tuesday night was postponed with 7:50 left in the first period. During a TV timeout, Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode and collapsed on the bench before being treated and rushed to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. Bouwmeester currently remains in the hospital and is doing "very well" with a prognosis that is "looking very positive," according to an update given by Blues GM Doug Armstrong yesterday.
Tonight Ducks and Flames players lined up on both blue lines prior to the national anthem for a stick tap salute to Bouwmeester.
The Ducks hardly looked like the team who came into tonight with points in five straight games (3-0-2), as they trailed 4-0 after the first period and 5-0 after 37 minutes.
Ducks forward Adam Henrique chalked it up to, "Self-inflicted mistakes. Not playing how we've been [playing] as of late. A simple north-south game. Being hard to play against defensively. You have to find a way to bury some opportunities."
Talbot had 44 stops in earning his first shutout of the season. The veteran was actually in net for the Edmonton Oilers during the Ducks' famed Comeback on Katella during Game 5 of the Second Round of the 2017 playoffs, but no such resurgence was in store for Anaheim tonight.
Calgary struck first with 11:45 left in the opening period when Elias Lindholm tapped in a puck that got behind goalie John Gibson and laid in the crease.
The one-goal lead become two when the Ducks turned the puck over in the Anaheim end and Mikael Backlund took advantage off an Andrew Mangiapane feed.
Soon afterward, nobody picked up Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington in the left wing circle and he sniped a shot under the bar.
"Getting down in the first period wasn't good for us," coach Dallas Eakins said. "We've got to come out and get that first goal. If we can't get the first one, we certainly can't get down two or three because the odds fly directly the other way on us. We're a team that's challenged to score goals, so we have to be on point right away defensively and to a man."
Ducks rookie Troy Terry was a bright spot with nine shots on net and said, "I thought I had the puck a lot and was making right decisions. I think I can still shoot a little earlier. I could've had 14 shots if I shot it a little earlier. I don't think they're bad shots. They're good shots. I just need to bear down and put them in spots where the goalie can't save them. It's getting to the point where you see me creating them, but it doesn't mean anything if I don't score."
Calgary made it 4-0 with under a minute left in the first on a wrister from the slot by Mark Jankoswki on the rush.
Anaheim replaced Gibson with Ryan Miller after the first, and the Ducks' repeated attempts to get back in it were denied by Talbot. Backlund made it 5-0 on a breakaway with 3:14 left in the middle period, then Jankowski punched in a rebound 6:55 into the third for his second of the game to make it 6-0.
"Every loss, we've tried to look at what we could gain," Terry said. "At the end of the day, we had breakdowns. This really goes for myself, but we need to score on our chances. They scored on theirs. That's what it comes down to. They made more plays. We need to have more jam than that. It was one of those nights where we just couldn't figure it out."
The Ducks are back at it Sunday afternoon in a 2 p.m. battle with the Canucks in Vancouver.
"Not just our young guys, who we talk a lot about here, but our veteran guys have to be much better than they were tonight," Eakins said. "I know they will be the next game."