ANAHEIM — At this point, the Ottawa Senators can only hope to rise from the ashes in Phoenix Tuesday.
Their three-game jaunt in California ended up as a sightseeing tour — of pucks and more pucks being fired at their net. It was an exercise in embarrassingly slow starts, ridiculous shot counts and a single point — one they were lucky to receive way back on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
On Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks retro night here Sunday, it was the Senators who played like a team from their long, long past, second to the puck all night long and leaving goaltenders Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to fend for themselves over and over again.
The records were everywhere. The Ducks ended up with 56 shots, an all-time franchise high. The 56 shots also represent the most the Senators have ever allowed. The previous record of 51 had been done twice, the last time in 1995.
The only bright spot for the Senators in the 4-1 loss to the Ducks was the fact Bobby Ryan scored in his return to the Honda Center, a late first period goal which resulted in a mixture of jeers and cheers and which gave the Senators a glimmer of hope.
That hope didn’t last long.
The Senators, not so fresh from giving up 50 shots in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks Saturday, actually one-upped themselves from Saturday, when they yielded a goal at the 55-second mark.
Corey Perry opened the scoring a mere 27 seconds into this one. Ryan Getzlaf followed up at the 4:06 mark.
At that point, the Ducks were up 2-0 and the Senators had been outshot 9-3.
Senators coach Paul MacLean gave the early hook to Anderson, but it wasn’t so much an indictment of his game than of the players in front of him.
In came Lehner, who stopped all 15 shots he faced in the first period and allowed the Senators to keep the score somewhat reasonable. For a few brief minutes early in the second period, it appeared as if the Senators might be able to stay with the Ducks, but those thoughts faded after Perry scored his second of the game 3:18 into the second. Nick Bonino padded the lead to 4-1 with 4:32 left in the middle period.
After two periods, the Senators had given up 45 shots, for a total of 95 shots in five periods.
For those keeping track, the Senators yielded 35 to Buffalo opening night, 42 to Toronto, 32 to Los Angeles and another 106 on the weekend.
The Senators were scheduled to fly to Phoenix immediately following the game, hoping to salvage something – anything – from the four-game trip west.
On the very small list of things the Senators can be happy about is the fact their goaltenders have been stellar in defeat. Lehner had a 97-shot weekend.
For all the pre-game talk about establishing early pressure, the Senators were invisible at the outset.
Just like in Los Angeles Wednesday and again in San Jose on Saturday, the Senators were California Dreamin’ to start.
After the goals from Perry and Getzlaf early, the Ducks led 9-3 on the shot clock and Paul MacLean had seen enough.
He threw Lehner into the game to try and spark something from the uninspired group.
The Ducks kept coming and coming and coming, shooting from here, there and everywhere.
But Lehner, who faced two games worth of shots only 21 hours earlier, kept it from getting any worse. The pressure included a 30-second stretch with the Senators down 5-on-3, with both Chris Neil and Marc Methot in the penalty box.
As was the case in Los Angeles, when the Senators rallied from a 3-0 deficit, and again Saturday in San Jose, when the Senators rebounded to take a 2-1 first period lead, the Senators eventually found some rhythm.
Much of it had to do with a re-shuffling of the lines. Ryan had instant chemistry playing on a line with Turris and Clarke MacArthur.
When Ryan converted on a perfect pass from Turris with 48 seconds left in the period, Ryan pumped his arms high in the air, extending his goal-scoring streak to all three games on the West Coast.
Without question, this one felt the best of all.
The Senators were in the game, despite being outshot 24-12. Never before, in the 20-year history of the Ducks, had Anaheim delivered so many shots in the first period.
Corey Perry, Anaheim
Perry hit the net only 27 seconds in, scored his second early in the second and was a Robin Lehner toe save away from completing the hat trick. He’s a major reason the Ducks could afford to part with Bobby Ryan.
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa
Looks a long way away from the Norris Trophy winner of a couple years ago. Was on the ice for three goals against and it could have been worse. Emerson Etem stripped him of the puck inside the blueline, forcing Lehner to make a breakaway stop.
WHY THEY LOST
They were beaten in every way, all night long.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Former Senators Shaun Van Allen, Ron Tugnutt and Sean Hill were among the first-year Ducks who were honoured in a pre-game ceremony at the Honda Center.