Final Score: Ducks 5, Bruins 2
First Period Recap: Lately there have been three things you could count on from the Ducks, 1) that they'll have a slow start to the first period, 2) that they'll struggle on the power play and 3) that they'll win, especially at home. Tonight we saw two of the three.
The first five minutes were all Boston. The Ducks were pinned in their own zone and it seemed only a matter of time before either the Bruins scored or the Ducks took a penalty. Luckily it was the latter, with Matt Beleskey going off for high sticking Dougie Hamilton.
The power play was more of the same, as the Ducks could really only clear to the neutral zone before Boston turned it right back into the zone. The Bruins only ended up with two shots on the PP, but had nine attempts (per extraskater.com). The Ducks almost scored against the run of play as Beleskey came fresh out of the box, but he rang it off the crossbar.
Slightly before the midway point of the period, the Ducks got their first shot on goal, which initiated a quick back and forth exchange of scoring chances, but only for a shift before the period settled down into more neutral zone play. The Ducks still couldn't get anything going however, as the Bruins' D was consistently forcing them to dump the puck in at the blueline and Tuuka Rask was able to act as the third defender, playing the puck a lot.
Toward the end of the period the Ducks got a couple of good possession shifts first from the line of Patrick Maroon, Mathieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne with some seriously hard work from Maroon. Then it was the Twins' turn with Beleskey. Both shifts took some time and worked on the Boston D but neither really produced any quality offensive chances.
Immediately after that, Brad Marchand found a soft spot on the ice and got a really nice feed from Patrice Bergeron with Hiller seemingly out of the net, but somehow the Swiss goalie got his glove on it. AMAZING SAVE! It was loud in the building, but I'm pretty sure I still heard John Ahlers screaming "RIGHT HANDED ROBBERY!" over the din.
Update: Just realized that highlight pack at the top of the post didn't have the Hiller save. Watch and grovel... We are not worthy!
And thus the Ducks escaped another poor first period scoreless, despite being outshot 16-3.
Second Period Recap: The second started with a quick trade off of scoring chances, as Reilly Smith sent a puck a few feet wide, but had Hiller swimming a bit and the Ducks hit another post, this time it was _____, and Jakob Silfverberg got behind Rask but couldn't get his stick on the rebound for the easy tap in goal.
Almost five minutes into the period, Hamilton was called for holding Corey Perry. It took the Ducks about 30-45 seconds to get set up on the power play, but once they did the Special Teams exploded! Teemu drew attention as he skated the puck below the goal line and chipped it to Perreault. Maroon was providing somewhat of a screen on Rask as Perreault chopped the puck over his shoulder to open the scoring.
The goal opened the game up a bit, and really seemed to put some life into Teemu's legs as that line continued it's surprising effectiveness, and Teemu drew a hooking penalty on Johnny Boychuck. it only took ten seconds of power play time for the Ducks to extend their lead to two. Getzlaf bobbled the puck a little bit on the left wing boards, which drew the aggressive Boston penalty killers toward him, but that also left Nick Bonino wide open on the far side. Getzlaf beat the defenders with a pass, Bonino's shot rebounded off of Rask who couldn't corral it due to Beleskey's net front presence, so Corey Perry picked it up took a stride to the outside and scored an easy goal into relatively open net.
Perry got called for a high stick with just over 15 minutes gone in the period. Boston had their power play set up for most of the first minute, but the Ducks did a much better job of clearing the full length of the ice. Then Daniel Winnik and Andrew Cogliano pressured the puck up ice, Winnik did a great job to create a little gap for Cogs in front of the net, shielding Smith away from the puck with his body and putting it on a tee for Cogs who shot it short side as Rask slid away from it for the shorthanded goal. 3-0 Ducks.
With less than a minute left, Maroon dropped the gloves with Adam McQuaid. I'll give the decision to McQuaid as he landed a couple of haymakers, while Maroon's best move was trying to put about 800 jabs onto McQuaid's chin as he held his collar with the straight arm.
Boston got one back with only 15 seconds remaining in the period, as Dan Paille poked the puck through Hiller's legs, apparently following an elbow from Gregory Campbell to the face of Perreault. I didn't see the elbow, I haven't found it on any replays and Perreault didn't miss any time.
At this point I thought maybe letting Boston score one at the end of the period could work to the Ducks' advantage, so that they didn't try to sit on the three goal lead for 20 minutes. Toronto can tell you what happens when you try to defend a three goal lead from Boston.
Third Period Recap: The Third started off pretty even, and the Bruins pulled within one after seven minutes of play. Dougie Hamilton shot it through a massive pile of bodies in front of Hiller to get Boston's second goal. The Ducks wanted it to be called off for goalie interference as Jerome Iginla was laying in the crease inhibiting Hiller's movement, but he was pushed in, the play was called a goal on the ice and goalie interference is not a reviewable play. 3-2 Ducks.
For much of the third period the Ducks looked pretty passive, content to chip the puck out of the zone and settle into a pretty obvious 1-2-2 trap with only a one goal lead. Last time they played Boston they had a one goal lead with three minutes left and ended up losing a shootout. With seven minutes on the clock Saku Koivu was sent off for high sticking, but luckily it was negated 28 seconds later when Winnik dropped his stick and Marchand kicked it away from him as he tried to pick it up.
The four on four went by scorelessly, but almost as soon as Koviu exited the box Getzlaf set up Bonino in the slot and he wristed it in to restore the two goal cushion.
Boston tried to muscle their way back into the game with a heavy hitting shift following the Ducks' fourth goal, but only three minutes later Teemu and Perreault went on a two on one and Perreault sniped one over Rask's shoulder, off the post and in, sending the Boston fans to the exits and the Ducks fans to Hooters.
There were a lot of Bruins fans in attendance and they were active, but thanks to the Ducks' play in the last 40 minutes it really only served to boost the Ducks fans' volume. There was actually a really cool moment when the Ducks fans refused to stop their "Let's Go Ducks" during the last stoppage almost in defiance of whatever music the DJ was trying to play and it lasted until the final buzzer. Gotta love, truly fan generated enthusiasm.
The Good: Special teams dominance. There have been a lot of games this season where the special teams (power play especially) have been disgustingly terrible, even as recently as Friday against Edmonton, but the Ducks seemed to be trying to make up for all of that in this game. It didn't matter if it was a shortened power play or not even their power play, the Ducks were just golden whenever there was a man advantage.
The Bad: Copy paste from the last three games: slow starts. This wasn't as bad as Sunday night against Vancouver, but the Ducks need to find a way to get up for games at the start of the first period before it comes back to bite them.
The Ugly: Apparently there was a pretty nasty elbow by Gregory Campbell on Perreault just before Boston's first goal, but I didn't see it and it isn't on the replays.
3rd MVD: The whole Defense - It was a tough start for the whole team in the first period, but in the second and third every blueliner in black was making fantastic plays, to hold off the Bruins' attack, and even when they got behind the play a little bit, everyone from Lovejoy to Lindholm and Beauch did an amazing job to get back without having to take penalties. Also, Bryan Allen was a late scratch, put on the IR for a foot injury and Mark Fistric stepped in seamlessly and put some tremendous hits on the Boston forwards.
2nd MVD: Mathieu Perreault - was the beneficiary of Teemu really feeling it for the first time this season and some serious forechecking from Patrick Maroon, but ended up with two goals, including a picture perfect snipe to finish the game off.
1st MVD: Jonas Hiller - was great in the first period stopping all 16 shots he faced, but none better than the absolute robbery against Brad Marchand at the end of the first.
Next Game: Thursday, January 9 at Smashville