Tuesday, January 26, 2016
In the First Half Finale Before the All-Star Break, Bruins Fall Flat Against Ducks, 6-2
In their third and final chance of the regular season, the Bruins (26-18-5) finally solved the Flyers last night in Philadelphia (3-2 win). This evening, Boston returned home to face Anaheim (22-18-7) who had been off and hanging around here since Saturday night. You can guess what happened next since the B's were simply out of gas while the Ducks improved to 10-3-1 since Christmas break with a 6-2 victory.
The final score made it seem much worse than it actually was since Anaheim scored an empty-netter and added another garbage time goal with 32 seconds left in regulation. Still, it was yet another chance that Boston had to reach the .500 mark at TD Garden (11-13-2) but they failed to do so once again. Jonas Gustavsson (14 saves) made the start for Boston, however he was pulled after the first period and transported to Mass General Hospital for further observation with an undisclosed illness. Hopefully it's not the heart condition that marred his earlier NHL career. Tuukka Rask (19 saves) played the final two periods and took the loss.
The B's actually struck first, just 40 seconds into the contest as Zach Trotman scored his first goal of the season. His blast from the point was assisted by David Krejci and former Duck Matt Beleskey. Anaheim tied it less than eight minutes later as Corey Perry was the beneficiary of a giveaway by Trotman behind his own net. David Perron stole the puck and fed Perry for his 20th goal of the season at 7:54. After Patrice Bergeron was called for tripping, the Ducks took a 2-1 lead on Shea Theodore's power play goal at 14:27. His wrist shot through traffic was assisted by Perry and Sami Vatanen.
The second period was what won it for Anaheim as they outscored Boston 2-0 to take a commanding 4-1 advantage into the third. Perron (acquired from Pittsburgh on January 15 in the Carl Hagelin trade) backhanded in a rebound at 11:06. Chris Stewart and Ryan Getzlaf assisted on Perron's sixth goal of the season. The Ducks put it out of reach with a late tally as Kevin Bieksa wired one in from just inside the blue line. Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Kesler assisted on his second goal of the season.
Boston showed some signs of life early in the final frame as Zdeno Chara wristed a shot past Frederik Andersen (32 saves) at 2:04. Ryan Spooner and Beleskey assisted on the captain's seventh goal of the season. It really could have gotten interesting if the B's had potted another but Torey Krug's shot hit the crossbar and they couldn't convert a power play (they were 0 for 4 on the night). Kesler scored the empty-netter and Santorelli poked a loose puck in to round out the scoring.
Bergeron will be going to Nashville this weekend for the All-Star Game but the rest of the team figure to scatter around the globe since their next game isn't until a week from tonight vs. Toronto (17-21-9) at the Garden (7, NESN). Boston has 33 games left and believe it or not, they currently sit in third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Granted, they are only a point ahead of both the Lightning and Islanders (who have both played fewer games). Other than Washington at the top and Buffalo, Toronto and Columbus at the bottom, the rest of the East is very muddled. That should make for an exciting trade deadline and last few months before the playoffs start in April.