ANAHEIM — Discontent was the prevailing theme. Fans were unhappy and the team was reeling.
Well, yes. That’s no secret.
But it was also the way things were trending in New Jersey with the Devils in October. The Devils lost their first two games – outscored 10-4 – and were losing by two goals to the Ducks in Game No. 3 in Newark, N.J. They scored four to defeat the Ducks that night and promptly put misery in the rear-view mirror.
Unfortunately, for the Ducks, the only thing they’ll be putting in the rear-view mirror is Honda Center. They completed a franchise-record 10-game homestand with a thud, losing to the Devils, 6-2, on Friday night.
They leave on Saturday for a six-game trip, which opens Monday in Pittsburgh, and they are in desperate need of a reset after getting outscored 19-5 in consecutive losses to Boston, Edmonton and the Devils. The three straight losses came after back-to-back wins against Dallas and San Jose
In the homestand’s finale, they were simply unable to compete with New Jersey’s speed.
The damage came from Jack Hughes, who is leading the Devils in scoring and had two goals and an assist against the Ducks. But Jesper Bratt lit the spark with his game-breaking ability, scoring twice, including a slick wraparound on his second of the night, at 11:59 of the second period, to make it 4-0.
The two goals were his 16th and 17th of the season. New Jersey led 3-0 after one period and 4-1 after two and added two more in the third.
Adam Henrique and Trevor Zegras scored for the Ducks. They each have 13 goals this season, which leads the Ducks. Henrique’s goal – at 13:35 of the second period, ended the shutout bid of Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek. Zegras scored on the power play with 4:57 remaining in the game, cutting the Devils’ lead to 5-2 but Hughes responded with his second of the game 36 seconds later.
The Ducks were trailing 4-0 before Henrique’s goal but received a much-needed jump start earlier in the second from a familiar figure – Sam Carrick, who had a spirited fight against Devils defenseman Brendan Smith at 9:12 of the second.
Earlier on the homestand, Carrick fought the Sharks’ Jonah Gadjovic and turned the tide for the Ducks, who had been trailing 2-0 and went on to win 5-4 in overtime.
It was the third meeting in the NHL between friends and former national program teammates, Hughes and Zegras. On Oct. 18, Hughes had two assists in the Devils’ 4-2 win, while Zegras was held off the scoresheet. Zegras, who missed a practice earlier in the week because of illness, was a minus four against the Devils and had been a minus four in the Ducks’ 6-2 loss to Edmonton on Wednesday. Defenseman Cam Fowler, in particular, had a rough end to the homestand, a minus four against the Oilers and a minus two on Friday.