I have to start off by congratulating Nic Kerdiles on making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks. We happened to go to the same local schools as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is surreal to see the kid (I am a year older) that I skated with in the past go all the way from the local Tustin Heritage outdoor rink to the big leagues. Credit to where credit is due. Now hopefully he forces Carlyle to actually give him minutes.
Brandon Carlo opened the scoring for the Bruins at 9:02 into the period. The defender had an open shot after being sprung off a faceoff in the Anaheim zone. Kerdiles seemed to screen Bernier leading to an easy far-side goal. It seems strange to always hear the coaches stressing coming out of the gates strong, yet the team has a legitimate problem doing so.
Who knew the Anaheim Ducks still scored goals? Ondrej Kase tied the game at one goal apiece at 2:03. Nick Ritchie originally fanned on the pass, but he quickly recovered to get the puck back to Kase. The Czech native sniped one off the post past Rask. Ryan Getzlaf picked up the second assist.
Bernier knows what I want to see. After yet another Bieksa hooking penalty, Bergeron was left all alone on the far post during the man advantage. Bernier was forced to lay out and got an arm out to freeze the puck. Later on during the PK, the Ducks were able to get a few more breaks. First the Tim Peel referee crew waved off a goal from Pasternak. Later the Bruins hit a crossbar.
Right after Bieksa’s penalty ended, the veteran went back to join the Anaheim zone but decided to play in the defense position. Usually the player coming out of the box should take the open wing spot, but for maybe the first time ever Bieksa wanted to play defense. This left Zdeno Chara wide open on the blue line and able to measure Bernier. 2-1 Boston.
THE DUCKS SCORED AGAIN. Yes, you heard me right. Rickard Rakell was able to tie the game at 2 for his 23rd of the year. Corey Perry, noted playmaker, made a beautiful pass to Rakell. The shot got caught up in Rask’s feet, but the Boston goalie kicked the puck into his own net by mistake.
AND AGAIN. What do I do with my hands? Josh Manson gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead at 13:12. A few minutes earlier, the Bruins clanked a shot off the post so it was great to see Anaheim turn the tides. In a stroke of luck, Nick Ritchie was at least two feet offside, but Boston was unable to challenge since they had already lost theirs. The hockey gods were the MVPs tonight.
Anaheim and turtling go hand-in-hand. There’s no way to separate the two when the Ducks have a lead going into the third period. Rumor has it that Carlyle forces his players to practice by having the entire team take home pet turtles. If the Ducks actively try to bleed shot attempts then they do a fantastic job doing so.
At 11:35 into the period, Frank Vatrano scored a breakaway goal to tie the game at 3. Krejci hit him with a pass from the opposite blue line and Vatrano was able to take full advantage.
Everyone could sense that the Ducks were playing for at least a point, but Anaheim managed to pick up both in regulation. Kerdiles was denied his first point in the NHL after Corey Perry missed on a wide-open goal after the puck ricocheted off of his skate. Luckily Rakell was right there for his second goal of the game. The second assist ended up going to Bieksa.
Andrew Cogliano, empty net specialist, scored a goal without even getting the puck into the lonely net. Torey Krug pulled the speedy winger down, which forced the referee to award Anaheim a goal. It was a weird and appropriate way to end a crazy game.
The Ducks will be back in action on Saturday for an afternoon matchup against the Los Angeles Kings.