ANAHEIM — The Canadiens suffered their seventh straight loss, dropping a 6-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks Friday night at the Honda Center, but it could have been even worse.
Much worse, believe it or not.
The Canadiens were totally dominated in the first period — on the scoreboard, the shot clock and physically — falling behind 3-0 on goals by Dennis Rasmussen, Derek Grant and Antoine Vermette while getting outshot 21-7. The score easily could have been 5-0.
But whatever coach Claude Julien did during the first intermission worked as the Canadiens came out flying and outshot the Ducks 30-10 in the second period and got goals from Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher to make a game of it.
But a lucky break — literally — resulted in the Ducks’ fourth goal when defenceman Kevin Bieksa broke his stick on a slapshot during a delayed penalty call on the Canadiens and the puck went softly to Brandon Montour for a perfect one-timer that beat a surprised and out-of-position Carey Price high to the short side from a bad angle at the 5:58 mark.
Everything fell apart for the Canadiens again after that with Derek Grant scoring at 7:12 and Chris Wagner at 7:35. Three goals in less than two minutes and this one was over, except for Ducks defenceman Kevin Bieksa putting a beating on Andrew Shaw with a bunch of gloved punches at the 8:40 mark following a goalmouth scramble. Bieksa received a double-minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct, while Shaw received a 10-minute misconduct.
Shaw was the Canadiens player with the most fight on this night — literally. Bieksa was an imposing figure all night for the Ducks.
The Canadiens finished 0-3 on their California road trip, were outscored 16-5, and now have a 1-6-1 record to start the season.
Bad start: Rasmussen opened the scoring for the Ducks at the 1:46 mark of the first period and Grant made it 2-0 at 3:46 when he scored on the power play with Alex Galchenyuk in the box for tripping. It was the first power-play goal of the season for the Ducks and came on their sixth shot of the game. The Ducks had eight shots on goal before the Canadiens got their first from Jordie Benn at the 5:22 mark. Vermette put the Ducks up 3-0 at the 13:42 mark.
New team: The Canadiens looked like a different team in the second period. Byron scored his second goal in two games at the 2:47 mark, taking advantage of a lucky bounce off the back boards on a point shot by Karl Alzner that left goalie John Gibson with no chance. It was the fourth assist of the season for Alzner, who had 10 last season in 82 games with the Washington Capitals. Gallagher cut the Ducks lead to 3-2 when he scored at 17:24 on the power play, banging in a rebound in the crease off a point shot by rookie defenceman Victor Mete, who picked up his second NHL assist.
Line changes: Canadiens coach Claude Julien mixed his lines in the second period, putting Max Pacioretty with centre Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw, while Jonathan Drouin centred Alex Galchenyuk and Artturi Lehkonen.
Wounded Ducks: The Ducks were missing seven players who are injured: Ryan Kesler (hip surgery), Sami Vatanen (shoulder surgery), Hampus Lindholm (shoulder surgery), goalie Ryan Miller (upper body), captain Ryan Getzlaf (lower body), Ondrej Kase (upper body) and Patrick Eaves (lower body). Cam Fowler left the game early in the first period with what looked like a serious knee injury. The only injured Canadien coming into the game was David Schlemko (hand surgery).
Hemsky injured: Ales Hemsky suffered an upper-body injury in the first period after getting flattened twice by solid bodychecks and didn’t return after the first intermission.
Iron men: Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano played in his 793rd consecutive game Friday, the longest current ironman streak in the NHL. Alzner played in his 548th consecutive game, moving into a tie with former Detroit Red Wings captain Alex Delvecchio for the 16th longest streak in NHL history. Former Canadien Doug Jarvis holds the record of playing in 964 consecutive games.
What’s next? The Canadiens fly home to Montreal on Saturday and will have the day off Sunday. Their next game is Tuesday night at the Bell Centre against the Florida Panthers.