FORT WAYNE, Ind. — It's not exactly the best way to enter the playoffs.
The Quad-City Mallards closed out the regular season with three straight losses, including a 6-1 loss to the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The Mallards close out the regular season at 40-28-4, their best record since 2006.
The Mallards lost their last two games to the Komets, their first-round opponent whom they open up with in Fort Wayne next Friday.
"Hopefully it's a wake up call," head coach Phil Axtell said. "Normally we're better than that. Hopefully the guys get geared up for the playoffs."
Mike Embach scored 1 minute, 40 seconds into the first period then Kyle Thomas capitalized on a breakaway to give the Komets a 2-0 lead after the first period.
The Komets had those two goals before the Mallards had even two shots on goal, and Fort Wayne outshot the Mallards 36-24 in the game.
"We can't expect to win when we get outshot like that," Axtell said. "We're really hurting in the forward position. We've got a defenseman playing forward and we've got (rookie forward Kyle) Novak, who's doing a great job for us but that forces other lines to be broken up where there was chemistry."
Shawn Szydlowski made it 3-0 after two periods and then two goals from Mason Baptista and one from Brett Perlini made it 6-0 before Mike Wilson put the Mallards on the board at 16:38.
Adam Vay made 30 saves for the Mallards, while Pat Nagle made 23 for Fort Wayne.
Though this isn't the way the Mallards wanted to enter the playoffs, they can take heart in knowing that they enter an entirely new season.
There's six days before the puck drops in the playoffs, and the Mallards hope to use that time to get healthy, as four players were scratched from Saturday's game.
"It's going to be a big week of recovery," Axtell said. "We had a pretty good core, for the majority of the season, and missing three guys that played 45-plus games for us in the stands. It's hurting us right now and just gotta get better and focus on doing our jobs individually and the team success will follow."