Boston Bruins: “Nothing [Black and] Gold can stay” in loss

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 30: The Anaheim Ducks celebrate a goal against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on January 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 30: The Anaheim Ducks celebrate a goal against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on January 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins entered tonight’s game against the visiting Anaheim Ducks on an 18 game point streak.  In their first game back after the All-Star break, the Bruins came out flat and couldn’t rebound.

All good things must come to an end.  The Boston Bruins had done what they had done since 1968-1969 by going 18 games without a regulation loss.  No one expected the team to win the rest of their games or get a point in all of them.  But the way the Bruins were playing since mid-December, things were looking pretty in Boston.  Tonight’s game, however, was the opposite.

First Period

To say the Boston Bruins came out sluggish would be an insult to the word.  Either the players had too much fun on the All-Star break, or they forgot that it ended tonight.  From the drop of the puck to start the game through the first 20 minutes, this team did not look like the team on an 18 game point streak.

The Bruins were the beneficiaries of an early power play, but were unable to even get a shot on goal during the man advantage.  It took the Bruins until midway through the period before they even registered their first shot on Ducks netminder, John Gibson.

The Ducks, like the Bruins previous seven opponents, got on the board first.  This goal was a comedy of errors.  Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin misplayed a lobbed shot on net, looking like a Little League shortshop, and not one you’d see in Williamsport, PA.  Captain Zdeno Chara then got outmuscled by Jakub Silfverberg in front of the net.  As Big Zee fell towards the net, the puck bounced in off the prone defenseman.  1-0 Ducks.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 30: Jakob Silfverberg /

Things didn’t get much better for the Bruins after that point.  Anders Bjork left the ice after taking what appeared to be a hard stick check to the left arm and didn’t return.  Then, the Ducks were able to take advantage of a Bruins penalty by Torey Krug.  Adam Henrique buried a wicked wrist shot passed a Corey Perry screen and Khudobin, and the period mercifully ended 2-0 Anaheim.

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Second Period

Talk about night and day.  The Bruins offense finally woke up in the second period.  The team had looked so listless in the first, there really was no other way to go than up.

The Bruins had an abbreviated power play after Antoine Vermette committed a penalty while on the power play of yet another Frank Vatrano penalty.  The Bruins kept the puck in the zone nearly the entire man advantage and looked like a team ready to score.  There were several times the Bruins could have scored, and very well may have if Brad Marchand was on the ice.

Both teams played a very physical, heavy period.  Unfortunately for the Bruins, despite outshooting Anaheim 13-4 (after being outshot in the first 15-5), the period ended with no goals, and a 2-0 score.

Third Period

The third period was very much like the second.  The Bruins had their chances, and the Ducks had theirs.  It was back-and-forth, but for the most part, the ice was tilted towards the Anaheim net.

John Gibson left the game midway through the third period and was replaced by Ryan Miller, who didn’t seem to miss a beat.  Despite several pucks being thrown his way, he held strong.  Some controversy developed when David Backes was the recipient of a late hit to the head from Nick Ritchie that went uncalled.  Pretty sure if that was Marchand, he’d be looking at a game misconduct and a 10 game suspension.

Then, tempers really started to flare when Chara laid a solid, clean body check on Henrique, and Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf took exception.  Unfortunately for the crowd, the officials wouldn’t let the two dance, but Chara got in a few good shots anyway.

The Bruins got on the board late with the goalie pulled on a point shot by birthday boy Ryan Spooner.  It was too little, too late, as Henrique then scored an empty net goal, ending the game 3-1 Anaheim.

Takeaways from the game

The point streak is over.  This is the first game in a long time that the Bruins didn’t deserve at least a point.  The reason the Bruins lost so many games earlier this season is because they came out flat and couldn’t come back.  They’ve spent the last two months showing great resilience, an attribute that was missing tonight.

Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Noel Acciari were dearly missed tonight.  The team looked disorganized in nearly every facet of the game.  Other than the one power play in the second period, no one seemed to want to make a play.  And as for the defense, the Ducks forwards walked all over everyone.

Next: Bruins playing preseason games in China?

The Bruins have a few days to collect themselves and get things back on track.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much easier, as the team takes on the tough St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.  Here’s hoping Backes and Bjork are okay.  This team already fought off the injury bug once, they can’t afford to have to do it again.