Coaches and players usually don’t care much for “moral victories,” but Saturday’s 6-4 loss by the Anaheim Ducks to the Washington Capitals comes pretty close to a feel-good defeat.
The Capitals, with a best record in the NHL, jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and held a 4-1 advantage at one point. But the Orange County boys surged back to a 4-4 tie before finally succumbing to two third period Washington goals.
“We gave them so many gifts the first period it was like we were watching the game and they were playing the game for that period,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “Then we climbed back into it. The difference ended up being the special teams at the end, if you look at it. They scored a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal and that was the difference in the hockey game.”
Anaheim is now 29-18-10 and still in second place in the Pacific Division with 68 points. The Caps are 39-11-6 with 84 points and atop the Metropolitan Division.
The Ducks’ epic rally started with Jakob Silfverberg’s goal (his 17th of the season) early in the second period. Hampus Lindholm’s fifth goal brought the score to 4-2.
In the third period the rally really got dramatic as Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf each scored in a roughly two-minute span to knot the game up. But that was all the Ducks had in the tank as the Capitals got the lead score at 17:21 from Zach Stanford, then added an empty-net goal 13 seconds before the horn sounded.
Next for the Ducks will be a game on Tuesday at Minnesota. The Wild is 36-12-6 and atop the Central Division.