The Anaheim Ducks started the second part of the 2018-19 NHL season the same way they ended the first half. They lost.
The Ducks gave up six goals in the first period on Saturday and went on to absorb a 9-3 thrashing on the road at the hands – and sticks – of the Winnipeg Jets.
At one point the Orange County team trailed 8-1 en route to the defeat which dropped its record to 21-22-9. Those 51 points placed them in a fifth place tie with the Arizona Coyotes, and just one point out of seventh in the eight-team Pacific Division.
It was the Ducks’ third straight loss and 15th in 17 games. Nick Ritchie, Daniel Sprong and Devin shore lit the red lamp for Anaheim, all of those goals coming too late to do much in terms of giving the team hope for a win.
“There is no excuse for that kind of effort,” said Ritchie. “It would be one thing if we played hard and made a couple mistakes with the puck, but that was a pretty bad [first] period. That’s all I can really say.”
Even steady goalkeeper John Gibson had a terrible night, yielding six goals on 14 shots before he was pulled.
In fairness, the Ducks were playing the top team in the Central Division, but life won’t get much fairer on Monday, when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are in second place in the Atlantic Division.
ALSO on Saturday, Los Angeles Kings lost 4-2 to the New York Islanders. The loss put the team record at 20-27-4, good for eighth and last place in the NHL Pacific. Anze Kopitar and Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the Kings.