|Too much of this last night.
Slow starts, rocky finishes, the Los Angeles Kings and the Nashville Predators.
They all proved troublesome for the Ducks this past weekend at Honda Center, and they've all afflicted them during this rollercoaster season.
A loss Friday night to the KIngs was the fifth in six games with the Ducks' old rivals, and a defeat yesterday evening to a newer rival, the Predators, gave Nashville a season series sweep and six straight wins going back to last year's contentious first-round series.
Friday night, the Ducks had a rough first period against the Kings, falling into a 3-0 hole before valiantly fighting back and coming up just short in the final minutes (getting ultimately done in by an empty-net goal). Last night against Nashville, the Ducks instead jumped in front 1-0 on a beauty of a shorthanded goal by Devante Smith-Pelly
. But they couldn't get anything else past goalie Anders Lindback and gave up two to the Preds in the third, then a later empty-netter to clinch it. Playing the second of a back-to-back, Nashville seemingly waited for the Ducks to provide an opening and attacked (I suppose that's why they're called the Predators.)
“They never beat themselves. They hang around," Bobby Ryan said of a very good Predators team. "They just continue to be there and be in your way and chip away at things.
"They’re almost sneaky. Because it doesn’t feel like they’re getting chances and then all of a sudden, it’s a quick one.”
An attempt to wipe out the one-goal lead was flipped on them again by another empty-net goal in the lingering seconds, this time by David Legwand with 16 seconds and change left.
It was a frustrating way to go for the Ducks, especially against two teams you love to beat and hate to lose to, no matter where anyone stands in the race for the playoffs.
Tonight the Ducks turn around and face yet another
bitter rival, this time on the road, as they take on the Sharks up in San Jose. The Sharks go into this one in an unfamiliar spot in the standings, ninth place in the Western Conference but just a point out of seventh and eighth with games in hand on both. Despite a recent drought in which they went 3-8-4, they beat Nashville at home on Thursday and Detroit there Saturday. They're actually also just a point out of the Pacific Division lead, which would catapult them to third in the West.
The Ducks would love nothing more than to make sure they go nowhere on that ladder tonight, in what always is an unfriendly building. More than that, they'd like to turn the tide on a frustrating weekend that was the continuation of a tough stretch following that inspiring surge in January and February.
"You learn to hate it and you never want to do it again," Boudreau said. "That's what I get out of it when something like this goes on and you start losing and you get frustrated like we did a little bit at the end there.
"You remember those things for awhile. And you come back, knowing you don't want to go through that feeling again."
Boudreau indicated that Hiller would go again tonight but that backup Jeff Deslauriers
, "will play before the year is out. At some point [Hiller] is going to get a rest." He also said that Toni Lydman
, who missed last night with an upper body injury, is feeling better and will be available.
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Big news for Ducks fans in San Diego who have previously not been able to watch Ducks games on Cox Cable. Fox Sports San Diego is officially launching today, and will by carrying Ducks games that are being aired on Prime Ticket and FS West.
That starts tonight with the Ducks-Sharks game at 7 p.m.
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Here's a photo you don't see every day (that's Chuy from the Chelsea Lately show, in attendance last night):