In two games, the Anaheim Ducks went from being one of the hottest teams in the NHL to being on the verge of posting their longest losing streak of the season.
The Ducks try to shake off back-to-back losses on Monday night when they wrap a five-game homestand with a visit from the San Jose Sharks.
Anaheim took the first two of this stand to push their home winning streak to 13 straight games. The Ducks were also riding a 12-game point streak (9-0-3) before getting handed a 5-1 setback by the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. It marked Anaheim's first home defeat since Jan. 25 versus Vancouver and first loss of any kind since Feb. 25 at Los Angeles.
The Ducks had a chance for revenge on Sunday in a rematch with the Red Wings, but gave up two first-period goals on the way to a 2-1 loss. Ryan Getzlaf scored in the final minute of the second frame, but also took a tripping penalty with 33.5 seconds left in the third frame and Anaheim pushing for the tying goal.
A frustrated Getzlaf was also given a two-minute unsportsmanlike penalty and 10-minute game misconduct for arguing, while Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry also got hit with 10-minute penalties for voicing displeasure.
"I'm not going to comment like I want to. It's not my place right now," Getzlaf said. "I'm trying to stay composed. And make it perfectly clear I'm not frustrated just with the final play of the game. That's not what this is all about. But I don't want to take anything from the Detroit Red Wings. They played hard tonight and their goaltender played great. It's the nature of the game. We're going to bite our tongue and push forward right now."
Jonas Hiller made 19 saves for the Ducks, who sit at 13-3-0 at home. Saku Koivu assisted on Getzlaf's goal and is now one point shy of 800 for his career.
Anaheim has now lost two straight in regulation for the first time this season and it marks only the second time in 2013 it has lost two games in a row. The Ducks dropped back-to-back shootout decisions in Phoenix on Feb. 2 and 4 and now sit three points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the most in the NHL.
Anaheim hopes that the quick turnaround will lead to the club avoiding a free fall.
"That's part of being professional," said Getzlaf. "Regroup. That's the one benefit we have in the back-to-back games. We get to go right back at it tomorrow. The benefit we have is we're heading in the right direction. We're not going on a downward spiral."
The same can't be said for the San Jose Sharks, who have lost three of four on their five-game swing and seven of their past nine overall. They are tied with Nashville and Columbus for ninth overall in the Western Conference with 32 points, one back of the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot.
The Sharks were shut out 2-0 by the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. They went 0- for-4 on the power play, gave up a power-play goal and failed to score in the third despite a 19-5 shot advantage.
"Special teams let us down," Sharks coach Todd McLellan lamented. "It's not that we were horrendous in those areas, but they beat us on the power play."
Andrew Desjardins had a chance to put San Jose up early when he was awarded a penalty shot just over three minutes in, but Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom made a glove save on his attempt.
Antti Niemi allowed both goals on 24 shots for the Sharks, who played without forward Ryane Clowe for a third straight game due to a shoulder injury.
The Sharks recorded a 3-2 shootout win at home over the Ducks on Jan. 29, but have since dropped two games in Anaheim. San Jose has lost three straight and seven of their past nine as the guest overall in this series.
The Ducks have won eight of the past 10 encounters with the Sharks overall and will visit San Jose on Wednesday.