Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey checks Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas… (Kelvin Kuo / US Presswire )
Frantic finishes could not erase the damage of slow starts.
The Ducks might have been fine, say, except for that middling matter of the first two minutes of a period.
They endured the rockiest of starts, giving up a goal in the first 13 seconds, and fell behind by two in the opening 7:40. Guess that's what happens when you have three days between games in the NHL.
Red-hot Dallas applied the pressure when necessary, scored early in the third period and held on to defeat the Ducks, 3-1, on Friday night at Honda Center. Left wing Loui Eriksson scored twice and added an assist, and goaltender Kari Lehtonen won for the sixth time in six games.
"Turnover-fest," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said about the first 10 minutes. "It looked like we were working in a restaurant, flipping flapjacks.
"Turning it over. Turning it over. Turning it over."
That was an accurate summation. Three mentions of turnovers equaled three goals.
"We were in the middle of the ice trying to do too many things," Carlyle said. "And we cannot play that way."
The Ducks' goal came from reigning most valuable player Corey Perry, who has scored in three straight games. But any momentum from the power-play goal late in the second period vanished when Eriksson broke free and scored at 1:42 of the third off a nice centering pass from Jamie Benn.
"We were very flat for the better part of the hockey game," Carlyle said. "We only had spurts where we were really engaged in it. When we did have our chances, it seemed as though we were miscuing."
The Ducks outshot the Stars, 36-19, and had a goal disallowed when Perry was called for goaltender interference in the second period.
"Those were the kind of things that went against us," Carlyle said.
"The very first shift of the game the puck deflects off our defenseman [Francois Beauchemin], the second one deflects off our defenseman and we're in for one of those nights."
Beauchemin had an especially difficult game, as he was on the ice for all three Stars goals. So was defensive partner Cam Fowler.
Dallas has opened the season 6-1-0 three times in team history and is close to matching its 8-1-0 start in 2006-07. The Ducks (4-2-0) lost for the first time since their season opener, ending a four-game winning streak.
"We've got to be ready to play," the Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf said. "We didn't do a very good job in our locker room to get ready, and that's on us.
"We came out pretty flat even on our first few shifts. It just wasn't that [first] one. You can't do that against a good hockey club, and that obviously cost us tonight."
They were dealing with a goalie on a nice winning streak. Apparently the way to get one past the skilled Lehtonen is to go slightly wide of the net.
That's what started the scoring play on the Ducks' goal. Fowler misfired, with his shot ricocheting off the end boards. Lehtonen went lunging to his left, but Perry was at the top of the crease and scored with 0.1 of a second left in the second period.
Krystofer Barch of the Stars looked dazed for a few seconds after he was hit in the head, apparently by Ducks forward George Parros' shoulder early in the second period. There was no penalty called, but Parros could get hit with a suspension or a fine.