After a run of averaging over four and a half goals per game since the start of December, Anaheim has suddenly reverted back to a lack of scoring we were all too familiar with from earlier in the season.
The Ducks scored just one goal for the second consecutive game Thursday night in Boston in an effort that saw a distinct lack of energy and fire, dropping the contest by a score of 3-1.
“I think there’s no excuse really,” Andrew Cogliano remarked after the game. “I think we’re a couple of games away from the Christmas break and you have to find it. These are times you got to push through whatever you want to call it to get the wins and then get yourself a break after that. So there’s no excuses. I think we’ve let a couple games here go and it’s unfortunate because we had something really good going.”
The game was defined by a stark difference in special teams play, with the Bruins first two goals coming on the power play. Torey Krug began with a great spin-pass to David Pastrnak who was left completely alone below the left circle for an easy one-timer goal in the middle of the second period.
Krug would double the lead late in the period on another power play goal after Pastrnak and Brad Marchand would get a tic-tac-toe sequence of beautiful puck movement to finish off another special teams success.
David Krejci made it 3-0 after he blasted a one-timer past John Gibson, a goal that the Ducks netminder likely wants back even a day later. The goal gave Krejci his 600th career NHL point.
Fortunately, rookie defenseman Josh Mahura saved the Ducks from a shutout, and in doing so scored his first career NHL goal. Carter Rowney won a face-off back to Mahura who sent a low snapshot along the ice through traffic and between the legs of Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
Despite the good night for Mahura, Anaheim dropped their second consecutive game with another lifeless performance. The team will be looking to recover in Buffalo against the Sabres on Saturday night for the last game before the Christmas break.
Best & Worst
Best: Josh Mahura’s first NHL goal
Your first career goal is always a special occasion. The 20-year-old 3rd round pick wasn’t expected by many to get a taste of NHL action this season after finishing his junior career last season. But the youngster has impressed and turned in a great game last night, controlling more than 60% of the shot attempts on the ice while generating 4 high danger chances and allowing none.
Worst: Special teams woes
Anaheim continues to struggle mightily with the man advantage, going 0 for 4 on the power play and not looking particularly threatening outside of a golden chance for Brandon Montour that was robbed by Halak. However, even though Anaheim has had power play issues for a couple of seasons now, they could stay afloat due to one of the league’s best penalty kills. Now that has been failing after just a 78% success rate in killing off penalties.
Worst: What’s a goal?
Anaheim averaged more than four and a half goals per game in December and were off to a great start on the road trip. Then the tail-end of a back-to-back in New York happened. The Ducks have now lost consecutive games by a score of 3-1 and have looked tired doing so. The Christmas break can’t come soon enough.
3. Josh Mahura
2. David Pastrnak
1. Torey Krug