Lately, when the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings are on the ice, no lead is safe.
Sunday, the Ducks blew a 2-0 third-period lead on home ice and dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Pacific Division rival San Jose Sharks.
It was the eighth time this season that the Ducks have let a third-period lead disappear, although in six of those games they at least managed to garner an overtime or shootout point. They’ve lost an NHL-high 11 games via OT or the shootout.
“It started in the second period,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf told the Orange County Register. “We didn’t play very well at all. We had two shots in the second period. At that point, you’re receiving the game a little bit.
“We have to find ways to put those games away.”
The Red Wings also aren’t enjoying prosperity. On Sunday, they squandered a 4-1 third-period lead at Washington, but rallied to defeat the Capitals 5-4 in overtime. Two nights earlier, the Wings let 3-0 and 5-2 advantages escape their grasp in a 7-6 OT setback to the New York Islanders.
“I almost lost my mind again on the bench,” Red Wings left winger Tomas Tatar told detroitredwings.com. “We had a three-goal lead and it just can’t happen. It was tough. I was worried it might be the same story as against the Islanders. You don’t want that to happen. It felt really bad after the game.
“If you have two in a row like that, it would be just miserable. I’m glad we had the two points. That’s big for us and now we are back home and we need every point now.”
As with the Ducks, Tatar felt the Wings got away from what was working for them as the game wore on.
“I think we played really good the first two periods,” Tatar said. “We put the pucks deep, we had a great forecheck and we created a lot of chances from the forecheck. We backed up a little bit and they started pressuring us.
“It shouldn’t happen and we’re working on it.”
Tatar, who led the Wings with 25 goals last season, scored twice Sunday, including the game winner, to end his eight-game goal-less drought. He has 14 goals this season.
“When you have the chances to score a goal and the puck just won’t go in, you begin to feel a little frustrated, especially when the team is not winning,” Tatar said. “It doesn’t feel good, so when you score, you get that monkey off your back for sure.”
Right-winger Anthony Mantha leads the Wings this season with 19 goals, and he’s scored three times in the last three games after tallying once in his previous nine games. Mantha believes shooting the puck with more frequency has led to his offensive outburst.
“Obviously, you want to shoot as much as you can,” Mantha said. “As a team we’re doing a better job these days and we’re getting results.”
Anaheim right winger Corey Perry, the Rocket Richard Trophy winner with an NHL-leading 50 goals in 2010-11, has also rediscovered his scoring touch after a brief demotion to the fourth line. Perry has 3-4-7 totals in the past four games after scoring four times in his previous 22 games.
“Nobody wants to be demoted, as per se or perception,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “Goal scorers seem to score in streaks and he’s on a streak that’s going his way right now and that’s great. He’s helping our hockey club.