Final: Anaheim 5, Boston 2
Recap: It all started off so promising for the Bruins. Boston dominated the opening frame, outshooting Anaheim 16-3. The Patrice Bergeron line especially was buzzing, but Jonas Hiller brought his A-game right out of the gate.
Things went south in the second period, as the Ducks put on a special-teams clinic. Mathieu Perreault and Corey Perry scored power-play goals less than three minutes apart. With under three minutes to go until the intermission, Andrew Cogliano was the benefactor of a Reilly Smith turnover, as his shorthanded strike staked the Ducks to a 3-0 lead. Dan Paille's goal in the final minute of the period cut the lead to 3-1.
Dougie Hamilton crashed the net and fired home a rebound from around 15 feet out to make it a 3-2 game with 12:41 remaining in regulation, but the Ducks quickly took back the momentum. Nick Bonino (Unionville, Conn.) buried Anaheim's third power-play goal of the game and Perreault really put things out of reach with his second of the night at 17:29 of the final frame.
Records: Anaheim 32-8-5, 69 points; Boston 28-13-2, 58 points
Key Play of the Game: Boston went on the power play with under eight minutes left, trailing 3-2. In a bizarre sequence, Brad Marchand "interfered" with Daniel Winnik, skating backwards at a snail's pace near the Anaheim blue line and, in the process, prohibiting the Ducks forward from retrieving his stick. His trip to the box negated a precious man advantage. Coach Claude Julien called it a "bogus" penalty call after the game.
Connolly's Commendations: Oof. Kudos must go to the fourth line, as each member scaped this one with a plus-one rating. Paille -- who led all Bruins with five shots -- buried his fourth goal in five games, while Justin Florek picked up his first NHL point with an assist on the tally. Greg Campbell also notched a helper, giving him points in back-to-back contests.
Connolly's Critiques: The B's penalty kill sure is capable of having some disastrous nights this season. Three games ago, they allowed four power-play goals for the second time this year (the other being in October against New Jersey). Tonight, Anaheim torched them three times.
Speaking of the Ducks' power-play dominance, Adam McQuaid was on the ice for all three of Anaheim's tallies on the man advantage, which all occurred during his 29 SECONDS OF SHORTHANDED TIME. Twenty-nine seconds. That has to be some sort of NHL record.
Five goals on 20 shots is pretty awful, no matter how you slice it. That's three rough outings in his last four starts for Tuukka Rask.
Notes: The B's are now 2-3-0 without Dennis Seidenberg, whose presence was clearly missed once again on the PK. ... Milan Lucic was a late scratch (flu), forcing Boston to play with just 11 forwards. ... Hamilton's tally ended a 19-game goal drought. All in all, No. 54 was on the ice for four of Anaheim's five goals.
Final Thoughts: Hiller was Vezina-like for most of the night, but you can't pinpoint his play as the sole reason Boston lost this game, even though the B's likely would've grabbed an early lead if it weren't for his heroics. It all came down to a special teams battle that Anaheim slaughtered Boston in, despite the Bruins coming in with a decidedly better power play and penalty kill.
Next: The Bruins will head over to Los Angeles, where they'll face the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Kings on Thursday.