Bruins Battle Back, but Ducks Opportunistic Play Wins Out

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 9:09 AM
Caryn Switaj  - BostonBruins.com

ANAHEIM, CA - The Bruins came out the way the wanted to in Anaheim on Tuesday night, the way they needed to. It was the type of effort that showed they could be the team to stop the Ducks' home streak and hand them their first loss in regulation at the Honda Center this season.

Despite the start, outshooting Anaheim 16-3 in the first period, and the comeback, falling down 3-0 before pulling within one in the third period, Boston's bid came up short.

The end result was a 5-2 loss to start their three-game California road trip.

"Yeah, I thought we played a great game. When you look at the scoreboard, it's 5-2 - you wouldn't think so," said Tuukka Rask, who only faced 20 shots on the night, with the Bruins owning a 32-20 advantage.

"But they didn't get a lot of chances and when they got them, they somehow put the puck in the net."

"Look at the first period, we totally outshot them, outchanced them, and then we continued in the second, we took a couple penalties that ended up costing us, then we got that goal late and still battled."

The opportunistic play of the Ducks was all that mattered.

"We knew coming in, they were going to be good, and they're deep, and their goalie played really well in that first period too when we had most of our chances," said Dougie Hamilton, who helped reduce the deficit to 3-2 at 7:19 into the third period.

Anaheim didn't get its first real offensive zone time until about four minutes left in the first. Every Boston line created chances, including the trio Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith, who threw 11 shot attempts towards the goal in the opening 20 minutes.

"So it's a different game if we get a couple in the first, but I think if we could have played the first period all game, I think it would have been a different game," said Hamilton.

Anaheim took advantage of what was given to them. Back-to-back power play goals within a span of 2:36 got them ahead 2-0.

On the first, by Mathieu Perreault, the Bruins lost coverage, with a defender not picking up the Ducks and allowing him just enough space to put home a feed from Teemu Selanne.

Next, Boston was caught cheating to one side, opening up a lane for Matt Beleskey to the net. Corey Perry picked up the tally with a driveby on the rebound.

"We have nobody but ourselves to blame on those," said Julien. "I thought we didn't do a very good job there on the PK again tonight, so it kind of set us back a little bit."

The Bruins had a chance to counter late in the second on the man-advantage, but Andrew Cogliano pounced on a bouncing puck in front of Rask on the breakout and put home the shorthanded tally to make it 3-0.

Comebacks are tough in that building, where the Ducks are now 18-0-2, but the Bruins never count themselves out.

"Yeah it is [tough]. But we didn't look at it that way; more that we felt we played good and deserved some goals. So we figured if we kept plugging away, we might get some goals," said Rask.

And the Bruins did. Forty-two seconds after Adam McQuaid dropped the gloves for his team-leading sixth bout of the season, Daniel Paille slipped a backhander through Jonas Hiller, off a feed from Justin Florek, with just 15.7 on the clock in the second.

It marked the forwards's first NHL point, after slotting into the lineup for his second NHL game, with Jordan Caron (back) still sidelined.

Hamilton's tally pulled them within one, when he fired in a loose puck with Jarome Iginla and Carl Soderberg crashing the net, after David Krejci had threaded a between the legs backhand pass to Iginla in front.

"I felt five-on-five, we kept pushing through the whole game," said Paille. "We played a very solid first period, and even the second period, we weren't bad, we just didn't capitalize on the five-on-five, and we were sloppy on the special teams - but, I felt like everyone was contributing and pushing throughout the whole game."

Boston had a chance to tie it up, 3-3, on the power play midway through the third. But it was canceled out by a "throwing the stick" interference penalty assessed to Brad Marchand, presumably for Ducks center Daniel Winnik's stick being out of his hands.

"We battled right 'til the end, and you know, again, I wish we would have had a better chance at tying that game up," said Julien.

"We score a goal late in the second, we get ourselves back in the game, then it's a 3-2 hockey game, and you've got a power play, and you get a call like that against you, it's mind-boggling sometimes. We could have tied that game."

The Bruins also felt they could have found the finish to put home more of their chances in the first, but the Ducks' opportunistic play won out.

With Boston pushing, Perreault took advantage of a 2-on-1 opportunity afforded by the Bruins, and made it 5-2 with 2:31 to play.

"Still kept it going," said Rask. "But just couldn't push far enough."

Lucic Sits out With Illness

Milan Lucic wasn't seen out on the ice for warmups prior to the game in Anaheim, and the team announced that he would not be playing due to illness.

"He was sick, he couldn't go tonight. Those things are day to day. I anticipate he'll be fine for next game," Julien said postgame.

Although Lucic's presence can't be counted out, the Bruins didn't let his absence affect them, coming out with one of their most dominant periods of the season, in terms of possession, and battling throughout the entire game.

Carl Soderberg filled in alongside David Krejci and Jarome Iginla, with Paille occasionally taking shifts, and some occasional juggling going on by Julien, to manage ice time with only 11 forwards in the lineup (Kevan Miller suited up to round out the seven defenders).

"Just things you have to go through," said Julien. "We put Soderberg up there and I thought he did a great job on that line, he played well tonight, and so that line was still effective for us. Just moved guys around, so we managed it."

"There's certainly not the reason why we're standing here with a loss because I thought our guys handled it well."

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