The Ducks are too proud to admit it, but upon their ultimate arrival in the NHL playoffs, they'd rather not find the Detroit Red Wings waiting.
For the second consecutive game at Honda Center, Detroit beat the Ducks. On Sunday night, it was 2-1, with Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard turning in a second consecutive 33-save effort to deal Anaheim its first two-game losing streak of the season in regulation.
After the Ducks had won 13 straight at home.
"We had chances left and right, but they made some saves," Ducks center Andrew Cogliano said. "We played better tonight than we did Friday, but they got people in front of the net. We were inches away."
The Ducks (22-5-4) wanted to shed the disappointment of the 5-1 loss Friday to the Red Wings (16-11-5), but less than nine minutes into game Sunday they trailed, 2-0.
Taking 21 shots to Detroit's 10 in the final two periods, the Ducks beat Howard only once, when captain Ryan Getzlaf scored late in the second.
In the third, the Ducks swarmed Howard, but he knocked down good shots by Ben Lovejoy and Toni Lydman, gloved a point-blank effort by Getzlaf, then knocked away a shot by Cam Fowler as time expired.
"It was stick-to-it-iveness," Howard said. "Not everything's going to go your way out there. But if I stick to it, we stick to our plan, we can do it. That's a very good team. We played defense, paid attention to the details.
"Let's be honest, you know our history. There's some great attitudes, some great human beings on this team."
The Ducks now stare at another game Monday night as Pacific Division rival San Jose visits.
Sunday closed with the bitter taste of a hotly contested, final-minute tripping call against Getzlaf prompting 10-minute misconduct calls against Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry. Getzlaf also received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Selanne received a game misconduct.
Getzlaf dropped his stick and kicked it to the boards with his left skate when tripping was called. Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said the timing of the penalty was "ticky-tack" and revealed the team's "pent-up emotion."
"I'm not going to comment like I want to," Getzlaf said. "But I'm not frustrated just with the final play of the game."
Detroit built its lead after an early tripping penalty on Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin gave the visitors a power play.
Red Wings right wing Daniel Cleary shielded Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller on a hard shot near the side boards by Jakub Kindl, and deflected the puck past Hiller for a 1-0 lead 4 minutes 14 seconds into the game.
Hiller was 7-0 in his last seven starts at Honda Center, but a second goal was scored by Drew Miller after the Red Wings again applied pressure with calculated passing and shot-taking.
Howard kept the Ducks scoreless for 21 shots . Up-close follows by Bobby Ryan and Perry in the first period were both denied by Howard.
In the second, open shots by Selanne and Matt Beleskey went wide of the net, and another by Beauchemin was gloved by Howard.
The height of the Ducks' frustration came when Kyle Palmieri couldn't get a shot off in front of the net because of a defenseman's stick. When Palmieri finally smacked the puck, it was stopped by Howard's left leg pad.
An interference penalty by Cleary gave the Ducks a man advantage, and Getzlaf scored by firing a shot over Howard's left shoulder with 45.1 seconds left in the period.
After the game, the Ducks signed veteran winger Radek Dvorak, 35, who was playing in Switzerland following an NHL career of 1,191 games that included a four-goal, 17-assist effort last season in Dallas. Dvorak must clear waivers before he can join the Ducks.
vs. San Jose
Where: Honda Center.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.
Record vs. Sharks: 2-0-1.
Etc.: Sharks center Logan Couture has scored two of his 14 goals this season against the Ducks. The teams also will meet Wednesday night in San Jose.