After matching their season-high in goals with six Monday night in Los Angeles, the Stars couldn't find the back of the net Tuesday in Anaheim and fell 2-0 to the Ducks at Honda Center.
"The guys worked hard. It was a tough back-to-back," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "[Monday] night was a tough game and [tonight] we were right there to at least tie the game."
The Stars trailed 1-0 going in the third period, put 16 shots on goal over the final 20 minutes but couldn't get a puck past Ducks goaltender John Gibson. Anaheim pushed the lead to 2-0 with 5:18 left, and that sealed the Stars' fate.
Special teams were key. The Ducks' first goal came on the power play, and the Stars were 0-3 with the man-advantage.
"Scoring chances both ways were pretty low tonight. I think both teams played a pretty tight game," said Stars center Jason Spezza. "When you're on a back-to-back, the special teams decide it, and we didn't get a power-play goal, and they did."
The Stars received an outstanding performance from goaltender Antti Niemi, who stopped 36 shots and kept the Stars close as they tried to get the equalizer in the third period.
"Antti played well for us," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "He gave us a chance."
The Stars were down to 16 skaters by the end of the game. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak left early in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Forward Patrick Eaves left the game in the third period after getting checked into a partially open door along the Stars bench.
"Oleksiak is going to be out a little bit of time. I don't know exactly how much," Ruff said. "Eaves I think will be OK. He caught the corner of the door."
The Stars went 1-2-0 on a three-game road trip and head back home with a 17-17-8 record.
Anaheim (21-13-8) got a 34-save shutout from Gibson and one goal and one assist from forward Jakob Silfverberg to improve to 5-1-3 over their past nine games.
We had the advantage of playing against a team that played last night," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Hopefully, we'd have more energy. We were a rested group. Our neutral ice was much better tonight than it has been in the past three or four games."
After a scoreless first period, there was more than eight minutes of special teams play in the second. The Stars missed on two power play chances and the Ducks scored on their second power play of the period and third of the game when Silfverberg scored on the rebound of a Corey Perry shot to put Anaheim up 1-0 at the 14:33 mark. It was the ninth power-play goal the Stars have allowed in the past five games.
"Tonight's goal was another one where I thought we could have got to that one," Ruff said. "It was a little bit of a misread, and we gave them inside room, and they got the bounce they needed."
Niemi came up with some big stops in the third to keep the Stars within a goal, including great saves on Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano. But Cogliano sealed the deal with a goal off the rush at 14:42 of the third to make it 2-0.
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.