The Ducks started their seasonlong eight-game trip by giving up a hat trick to Toronto's Phil Kessel and falling behind early en route to a loss at Montreal.
After those two losses, the Ducks' seven-game win streak this month seemed a long-ago memory.
"I had those fears," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau acknowledged Monday, with his team about halfway through its 15-day absence from Anaheim. The Ducks (9-3) play at Philadelphia on Tuesday.
So what did Boudreau do to rally the troops after this bad start on their trip?
He gave a rookie goaltender, Frederik Andersen, his first NHL start in Ottawa.
"I was thinking, 'It's not the coach that gets you fired up, but the fear of failure,'" Boudreau said of the move to give veteran Jonas Hiller a night off. "Put a young guy in there who wants to play and maybe the guys go harder, because we're in there against a good Ottawa team and if they're not on, we get shelled. But if we win that game, it starts to build something."
Andersen turned away 26 of 27 shots Friday to pace a 2-1 victory.
And like Andersen, called from the minors because of an Oct. 17 practice injury to goalie Viktor Fasth, other Ducks on this trip have been forced into that next-man-up mind-set as teammates continue to fall.
In the Ottawa win, forward Jakob Silfverberg was slashed and suffered a broken right hand that will sideline him four to six weeks. Second-line center Mathieu Perreault (four goals, five assists) was left day to day by a sprained left wrist.
After his Ottawa debut, Andersen was given a two-year contract extension and another start, Sunday at Columbus, where he stopped 18 of 21 shots and star Corey Perry scored the game-winning goal with 2:25 remaining for Anaheim's 4-3 triumph. The win was marred by Columbus' knockout hit on another Ducks center, veteran Saku Koivu.
It's not easy arriving in Ottawa at 1:30 a.m. with a game that night, then getting to Ohio at 3 a.m. the next day. But as the Ducks look up now, only Boston has a winning record among their next four foes.
"These last few wins have been the type of wins that define you," said Ducks center Nick Bonino.
Koivu and Fasth on Monday left the Ducks and returned to Anaheim; Koivu following the NHL concussion protocol for follow-up medical testing and evaluation and Fasth for physical therapy. The NHL will not further discipline Columbus' Brandon Dubinsky for his hit on Koivu.
The current Ducks roster includes five players who were either in the minor leagues or on deep reserve in the first weeks, including Monday call-up Rickard Rakell, a 20-year-old center.
Yet, Patrick Maroon, Peter Holland and Devante Smith-Pelly have combined for three goals and two assists on the trip. "That's the way it is in their spots — you hope someone gets hurt, so you have a chance," Boudreau said.
Boudreau said Perreault and first-line forward Dustin Penner, who suffered an Oct. 20 head injury, could play Tuesday, adding that defenseman Luca Sbisa might be activated after "a couple more practices." It's conceivable Koivu and Fasth could rejoin the Ducks on this trip, Boudreau said.
Until then, Bonino finds himself elevated from the fourth line to the second. "A few more face-offs and minutes. I'll play wherever they put me," he said.
"In the locker room after Montreal, some of the older guys spoke up about the need to play harder and the guys have responded," Bonino said.
"Of course you want your optimum lineup, but we knew when we started this trip we had 20 games in 37 days. If we escape it with a good record, we're in good shape."
When: 4 PDT.
Where: Wells Fargo Center.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.
Record vs. Flyers (2013): Did not play.
Etc.: The Flyers fired their coach, Peter Laviolette, after three games, but they've shown some recent life with two consecutive victories.