The Ducks were less than two minutes away from coming out of Honda Center with a win. Less than two minutes away from snapping a three-game losing streak. Then, turnovers led to penalties 31 seconds apart, which put them at a severe disadvantage. They gave up the tying marker with 36 seconds left in regulation and couldn't finish in sudden death, falling to the Detroit Red Wings by a 4-3 final in overtime.
"Turnovers put us in a bad spot," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "Penalties happen when you turn the puck over. We decided, in the third period, we were going to turn the puck over too much. We didn't make decisions to put the puck deep and keep working. It's a frustrating learning lesson when you have to figure things out. When you're ahead in hockey games in this league, we have to get the puck in deep. All the way deep. Not to the top of the circles. It's got to go all the win in. We turned it over too many times in the third period."
Anaheim never trailed in this game. Quick strikes from Jakob Silfverberg and Josh Mahura 29 seconds apart in the opening minute of the second period had the Ducks feeling good and holding a two-goal lead on a Red Wings team that entered the contest with a 6-12-1 record. The two teams combined for five goals in the middle frame, three from the Ducks and two from the Red Wings.
Video: DET@ANA: Silfverberg taps in goal to open scoring
Video: DET@ANA: Mahura fires into traffic and scores
When Detroit cut the deficit in half at the 11:33 mark of the second period on Filip Hronek's one-timer from the left faceoff dot, the Ducks answered minutes later when Cam Fowler crashed the net and buried a nice feed from Getzlaf for his fourth goal of the season.
Video: DET@ANA: Getzlaf, Fowler team up for sweet goal
Andreas Athanasiou got the Red Wings back to within one before the period was over, but the Ducks still held the lead until the final minutes of regulation. Two costly penalties from Brendan Guhle (tripping) and Korbinian Holzer (hooking) combined with an empty net at the opposite end of the ice equated to a 6-on-3 man advantage for the Red Wings. When they needed the equalizer, Dylan Larkin delivered with a goal from a severe angle that caromed off Ryan Miller.
Dennis Cholowski ended it 2:04 into overtime when he beat Miller with a snap shot from just inside the right faceoff dot.
The 39-year-old Miller finished the game with 32 saves on 36 shots, while former Duck Jonathan Bernier stopped 24 of 27 for the Red Wings. The Ducks fell to 9-8-2 with the OTL and 2-2-2 on the homestand.
"We were in control most of the night," said Getzlaf. "We played a pretty solid two periods. We had responses when we needed them. Our goaltender played good when we needed him. You feel like you [gave away] a point I felt we should've had tonight if we played the same way throughout the whole game."
They'll look to salvage their seven-game homestand on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.