October 31, 2013

Bruins bounce back with shootout win over Ducks

By Jesse Connolly

Zdeno Chara is congratulated by teammates after tying Boston's game against Anaheim at two goals apiece in the closing minutes of the third period. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 3, Anaheim 2 (SO)

Recap: If you thought the Bruins got off to a slow start against San Jose, little did you know they could look much worse in a first period just seven days later. Boston was outshot 5-1, taking 18-plus minutes to finally put a puck on net against Jonas Hiller and the Ducks Thursday.

Anaheim put one of their five shots in during the opening frame, with Devante Smith-Pelley picking off an errant pass by Carl Soderberg and ripping it home from about 40 feet out. In the second, Soderberg got redemption, making it a 1-1 game on a nice passing sequence that started in Boston's zone and saw the Swedes linemates, Ryan Spooner and Chris Kelly, pick up the helpers.

But by the end of the middle stanza, the Ducks were back on top thanks to a wrister from former Caps winger Mathieu Perreault that Tuukka Rask would surely like to have back. The score remained the same until the 17:10 mark of the third, as Zdeno Chara's power-play goal forced overtime. 

After a scoreless extra session, things were settled in the shootout with Jarome Iginla scoring the lone goal on a snipe in the second round.

Records: Boston 8-4-0, 16 points; Anaheim 10-4-1, 21 points

Key Play of the Game: Chara not only scored on the power play; the 6-foot-9 defenseman gave Boston the man advantage by drawing a tripping penalty of Patrick Maroon. Boston capitalized just eight seconds into the PP, with Chara banging one home from the top of the crease.

Connolly's Commendations: They might've only combined for a single point, with Krejci assisting on the game-tying tally, but the B's top line was the B's strongest forward unit once again. They could've put more pucks on net, but in terms of puck possession, no other Bruins line came close to replicating their effectiveness in the offensive zone.

Nice season debut for Spooner. He notched the assist on Soderberg's strike, had two shots, drew a penalty in the first period and earned himself an opportunity in the shootout on which Jonas Hiller made an impressive pad stop.

Connolly's Critiques: Make it three games in a row now that Brad Marchand hasn't put a puck on net. Strange times for No. 63, who was assessed some ticky-tack penalties in the opening period.

Notes: Rask improved to 10-1-1 lifetime (including the playoffs) in games played on the second night of back-to-backs. ... The Bruins narrowly avoided a three-game skid and, in the process, put an end to Anaheim's three-game winning streak. 

Final Thoughts: After a dismal first period, the Bruins deserve credit for getting better and better as the game wore on, especially after playing in Pittsburgh the night prior. It wasn't a banner night for anyone in Black and Gold, really, but a win's a win.

Next: The B's will be back in action Saturday when they take on John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com