It may be too early to suggest the Anaheim Ducks are dead in the water, but they're definitely treading water after dropping their first two playoff games on home ice.
Mike Modano and Brad Richards scored 55 seconds apart in the third period as the Dallas Stars shocked the Ducks 5-2 and a crowd of 17,181 at the Honda Center on Saturday night.
"We are all guilty of not playing as good as we can right now," Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "I'm not making the saves.
"We're not playing well defensively and not scoring enough goals. Altogether, it is pretty ugly out there."
"It has been a couple years going through some heartache and upsets and not meeting expectations," Modano said of the Stars, who have been knocked out in the opening round the past three seasons.
"You come back every year trying to redeem yourself."
Modano broke a 2-2 deadlock with a power-play goal on a slapshot from the point 5:47 into the third, and Richards scored on a 2-on-1 break with Loui Eriksson at 6:42.
Richards later returned the favour, setting up Eriksson in the slot with 5:24 left, as Dallas took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference series.
"We have all been on teams where you win one on the road and you're happy with a split," Richards said. "We tried to forget that as quick as we could, and we just kept plugging away."
"Our mindset was not on a split," Stars head coach Dave Tippett said. "We won the first one [and] we had the same mind-set for the second one."
Game 3 goes Tuesday at American Airlines Center (10:30 p.m. ET).
"I said from the start that it would be good to start on the road, in a hostile environment, and dig in together," Modano said. "It is huge to work this hard and head home up 2-0."
Mike Ribeiro led the Stars with one goal and two assists, Eriksson and Richards each had a goal and an assist, and Jere Lehtinen rounded the scoring.
Joel Lundqvist and Stephane Robidas provided two assists apiece.
"We came out with the first goal and I think that was big," Ribeiro said.
Teemu Selanne and Travis Moen replied in a losing cause for the fourth-seeded Ducks, who have been blanked in five of six periods — on home ice, no less.
Anaheim was held off the scoresheet for almost 84 minutes, but they finally solved Stars netminder Marty Turco with two goals on five shots in the second.
Turco shut out the Ducks 4-0 in the opener, and held them at bay until the 24th minute of Game 2.
"We were down 2-0 and we battled hard and came back," Giguere said. "We were doing a good job and it was looking good for the third period.
"As soon as they scored that third goal on the power play, after we had two power plays, I guess it just collapsed us. It is just unacceptable."
Ribeiro scores on breakaway
Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Ribeiro's breakaway goal 6:28 into the contest.
Ribeiro intercepted Francois Beauchemin's return pass to Scott Niedermayer at the blue-line, broke in alone and deked to the backhand to flick the puck under Giguere's glove to open the scoring.
Eighty-eight seconds into the second period, Giguere juggled a point shot from Robidas and the puck squirted to Lehtinen, who backhanded it into the open net for a power-play goal.
Anaheim replied with a power-play goal at the 3:41 mark as Selanne tipped Scott Niedermayer's point shot to the upper portion of the net.
The Ducks had been held scoreless for 83:41 to that point and, though a seven-minute delay to repair a pane of glass silenced the crowd somewhat, the players were sparked by Selanne's goal.
No sooner had Todd Bertuzzi stepped out of the penalty box than he threaded a pretty pass to a streaking Moen, who pulled it to his forehand and tucked it by Turco for the tying goal with 3:41 left in the period.