Ryan Getzlaf said he is at a loss to explain the effort of the Anaheim Ducks entering the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.
"I'm frustrated, and it's really, really frustrating to understand that our group's in a (Stanley Cup) Playoff race still after everything, and we can't come out and compete hard around our net, around their net, and [that we] do things like we did tonight," the center said after a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Honda Center on Wednesday, Anaheim's seventh straight home loss (0-4-3).
"We've got to play and compete. As a group, as five-man units. At times we've got one guy going or two guys going and then the third or the fourth guy aren't there and vice versa. So as a collective group we're not competing hard enough and playing hard enough to compete in this League."
The Ducks won 11 of 13 games from Nov. 21-Dec. 17 and were 19-11-5, three points behind the Calgary Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.
But Anaheim (21-21-9) is 2-10-4 in its past 16 games, including a 12-game losing streak, the longest in its history, and is one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. The Ducks are 20 points behind the Pacific Division-leading Flames.
Anaheim made four trades in three days last week and won consecutive games against the Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils following the losing streak. But the Ducks were outscored 8-1 in consecutive losses to the New York Islanders and Blues.
"We've got to find a way," said Getzlaf, Anaheim's captain since 2010-11. "Obviously this break couldn't come at a better time for our group right now. Hopefully we can go away, relax a little bit, stop gripping the sticks and understand what it takes to compete in this hockey league."
Getzlaf said he has not experienced this level of frustration with the Ducks, the only NHL team he has played for.
"Never had it in 14 years here," he said. "Never had that feeling that we're not going to compete on a daily basis. We've had three-, four-game stretches where things didn't go our way and maybe we didn't have the group that we wanted, but never for a consistent period like this have I [felt like] this."
The 33-year-old forward has 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) in 45 games this season but has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past 15 games. He said he is hopeful the All-Star break can help Anaheim turn its season around.
The Ducks have their mandatory five-day break after the All-Star break. They next play the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Feb. 2 to start a five-game road trip.
When asked what his teammates should do during the break, he said, "Relax. Like I said, [we've] got to try to take the mind off it for a minute … but at the same time keep our focus and understanding on what we need to do and what is the road ahead of us."
Injuries have played a major role in Anaheim's struggles. Forward Corey Perry tore his MCL during warmups before a preseason game Sept. 24 and has not played this season. He practiced Tuesday for the first time since the injury but said there's no timetable for his return.
Other Ducks who have missed significant time this season include forwards Patrick Eaves (32 games, broken rib) and Rickard Rakell (13 games, ankle), defenseman Cam Fowler (23 games, facial fractures) and goalie Ryan Miller (18 games, knee).
Forward Ondrej Kase will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder Jan. 30. He was injured a 3-0 win against the Wild on Jan. 17.
Center Ryan Kesler and forward Jakob Silfverberg each is day to day with a lower-body injury.
"Injuries hurt," Getzlaf said. "We've never dealt with so many injuries either over the past two years. The nice thing is we've had to deal with them. We've had different guys play different minutes, and those are excuses now."