Ducks Fall to Boston Bruins in Shootout 3-2

This really does say it all. - Jared Wickerham

Failure to clear the defensive zone was the theme of the night, and it came back to bite them again as the Ducks gave up a very late goal then fell in a shootout to the Boston Bruins.

Final Score: Ducks 2, Bruins 3 (SO)

First Period Recap: After a road trip that has consisted of a lot of horrible starts for Anaheim, they would get back to their ways of scoring first and doing so early. A mere 1:52 into the game, Dustin Penner intercepted a lazy zone-clearing pass, holding the Ducks onside before dishing a pass to Matthieu Perreault, who then tapped it to Devante Smith-Pelly who buried it. Less than two minutes into the opening frame and the Boston crowd was silent. While that may partially be due to a hangover from their World Series win, it was a great momentum boost for the Ducks.

They would continue to capitalize on it all period, and while it may not have been on the scoreboard, it significantly showed up in the Ducks efforts defensively. While Anaheim would record just five shots on goal in the first period, they held the Boston Bruins to only one. Boston didn't even get any significant scoring chances until the very end of the frame, on which Jonas Hiller would stand tall to keep the Ducks ahead at the end of the period by a score of 1-0.

However, there was a running theme that was starting to rear its head for both teams: failure to clear the defensive zone when given the chance. Turnovers at their own blueline gave the Bruins some extra offensive time, and it wouldn't be the only time the Ducks would give the puck up so easily, as you will see later.

Second Period Recap: The second period saw the Bruins wake up a touch and start pouring some pressure on the Anaheim net. Despite the Ducks outshooting them 10-7 in the frame, Boston seemed to have the better of the chances and far better shots in terms of quality.

They would tie the game on one of those shots about midway through the frame. Carl Soderberg caught Francois Beauchimin flat-footed and sleeping as received a lovely tip-pass from Chris Kelly in the neutral zone, tore in on a partial break, and threw a backhander on net that somehow managed to find its way through Jonas Hiller. It's one that I guarantee you Hiller wants back. I know it's difficult to stop a puck when you're sliding backwards and out of control of your own movement, but it was not a difficult shot and it rolled right into Hiller before somehow getting under him and into the net. He needs to make that save.

Boston continued to pour on the momentum as the period wound down, and Dan Wood even said on the radio that the Ducks would be "fortunate to get out of the period with the game tied." Seconds later, the Ducks would earn an offensive-zone faceoff after a Bruins icing.

That would prove to be all Matthieu Perreault would need as a controlled faceoff wound up back on his stick and a quick spin-around shot found its way past Rask before he even knew the shot had been fired.

Completely against the run of play, Anaheim led the game 2-1 at the second intermission.

Third Period Recap: The Ducks would have been stupid to sit on a one-goal lead knowing how the game had been progressing in terms of Boston's push-back, and sure enough the Bruins came out swinging when the third period started.

The best Anaheim chance of the frame came at about the 5 minute mark when Tuukka Rask robbed Perreault again after Dennis Seidenberg gave the puck away to him, along with a partial breakaway.

In the GameThread for this game, I pointed out that both these teams had absolutely dreadful powerplay units, and joked:

"Clearly on paper special teams are not going to be a factor tonight, which logically can only mean they will be the single most important part of the game."

-Me

Well turns out with 2:58 remaining in the game, Patrick Maroon took a tripping penalty for hauling down the gigantic Zdeno Chara (no small feat, mind you). The Bruins would only need eight seconds of that powerplay to tie the game. After a won faceoff failed to lead to a zone clear and a futile diving effort from Nick Bonino to get the puck out of the zone, the Bruins threw the puck back down low and got the puck to a wide-open Zdeno Chara who tapped the puck into an empty net to tie the game.

While it was yet another failed clear that cost them the goal... I'm pretty sure I incurred the wrath of the Magumbo tonight. My apologies everyone.

The period would end with an 11-8 shot advantage for Boston.

Overtime Recap: The Ducks looked extremely tentative for the majority of the overtime period, managing only one scoring chance that I can remember off the top of my head. The Bruins on the other hand had several good chances to win the game and Jonas Hiller stood tall, more than making up for that ugly first goal surrendered.

Seeing as I had to listen to the game on the radio the whole time (seriously this whole "career" thing is overrated), I can't recall too much of what happened during this frame, but it sounded to me like it was very nearly a shooting gallery for the Bruins. And the shots reflected it as the Bruins had the only four shots in the spell.

Shootout summary: The Ducks must have been a little nervous as both Corey Perry and Nick Bonino lost the handle on the puck before getting a shot off.

Meanwhile our old nemesis Jarome Iginla, who signed with Boston in the offseason after snubbing them at the trade deadline to join Pittsburgh, would put the Bruins ahead with a dazzling wrister over Hiller's glove and into the top corner.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf had a chance to keep the game alive but ultimately rang the puck off the goalpost.

The Ducks blew a lead late and ultimately fell 3-2. Shots on goal finished a total of 23 each.

**********

The Good: The Ducks made a pretty valiant defensive effort tonight, restricting the Bruins to a mere 23 shots on net when they normally average almost 30. Jonas Hiller's job was that much easier because of it. The first period in particular was spectacular as the Ducks held the Bruins to just one shot on goal and it didn't come until very late in the frame.

The Bad: The powerplay is still bad. 0/4 tonight. It's clear that this team has zero idea how to enter the zone when they're up a man, and this constant overthinking is just killing them.

The Ugly: The Ducks blew a one-goal lead late because they couldn't clear their own zone when they had a chance. It's something I've ripped on them before for being lazy with and tonight they were again and it cost them a point.

**********

3rd Icehole: Francois Beauchemin seemed to be a step behind the play all night, including being asleep on his coverage for the first Bruins goal.

2nd Icehole: Jonas Hiller didn't play terrible, but that first goal was not a good one to give up. He's been off lately and there's no denying that. I understand this road trip has been long and in numerous difficult buildings, but he's not at the same level he was when the Ducks won seven straight.

1st Icehole: It's hard to pin this on everybody but I'm going to go ahead and give this to every player who had a chance to get the puck out of the Anaheim defensive zone and instead lazily gave it away. Regardless of whether or not the Bruins scored as a result of it, those are the kinds of mistakes that will make coaches (and me) pull their hair out.

Next Game: Saturday November 2, 2013 vs. Buffalo Sabres

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