By Steve Conroy Boston Herald (TNS)
The Bruins have endured some frustrating nights in their quickly-slipping-away season, but last night’s 4-2 loss to the Ducks is near the top of the list.
The B’s had fought back to tie the game 1-1 in the second period and were utterly dominating Anaheim. But though the B’s outshot the Ducks 15-3 in that period, Anaheim scored on two of the three shots for a 3-1 lead and never looked back. Derek Grant scored on a tip 2:35 into the third and the Ducks, who got a pair of goals from two former Northeastern Huskies, were on their way.
It was the B’s fourth straight loss (0-3-1) and they fell to 6-7-4 on the season.
“We weren’t great in the first, they had good push and we got behind in the first and deserved to be behind a goal,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But we found our game in the second and I thought it was one of our better periods of the year. We basically gave up one chance and wound up with two goals against. That’s going to happen sometimes and there’s not much you can do about it but keep playing. If you stick with the program, stick with the process, it’s eventually going to go your way. Or it should. It just wasn’t quite enough in the second. We needed a little better finish around their net.”
Cassidy described his team as “fragile” right now with all the young players in the lineup and the frustrations mounting. But he took more exception with the performances he got on the experienced defense corps. Cassidy didn’t mention any names but Zdeno Chara was an uncharacteristic minus-3 and had a killer goal go off his skates, Kevan Miller had his pocket picked for the nail-in-the-coffin goal early in the third period and Brandon Carlo was again on the ice for the first goal against of the game.
“We’ve got some young players up front. We know that. But at the back end and with our goaltending, there’s some experience there,” said Cassidy.
“We’ve got to look at with the two goals and the six, seven defenseman other than Charlie (McAvoy), these guys have played in the league and they’re going to have to carry the team a little bit until we find our scoring and these young guys get comfortable playing on the road. And that was a bit of an issue tonight. And guys are going to have to take ownership of that. We’ve got some leaders back there and hopefully they take it to heart. We could have been better back there. Sometimes you’ve got to win 2-1.”
The B’s also lost to Torey Krug in the third period to an undisclosed injury.
“I was just told he was leaving and he wouldn’t be back. I don’t know if it’s serious or not,” Cassidy said.
The Ducks, who are every bit as banged up as the B’s, had the early jump and it was one of their fill-ins that put Anaheim on the board at 13:26 of the first period. Former Northeastern star Kevin Roy scored his first NHL goal in his third big league game. Nick Ritchie took a shot from the right side of the net that Tuukka Rask stopped.
Chara and Ritchie went after the rebound and the puck popped into the air. It landed in the slot, bounced and Roy, beating both Carlo and Frank Vatrano to the puck, batted it out of mid-air into the net.
But the B’s came out flying in the second period, landing the first 12 shots on net and scoring on that 12th shot at 8:48. Danton Heinen notched his third of the year when he first stole the puck on the forecheck and eventually beat John Gibson on a patient backhander to tie the game.
The B’s had the game where they wanted it, butit escaped their grasp all too easily. Corey Perry went at Chara one-on-one and, after one nifty move, lost control of the puck in the corner. A delayed penalty was being called on Chara and it seemed as if the B’s stopped playing for a split second. The Ducks didn’t. Roy’s fellow Huskie Josh Manson shot the loose puck toward the net, it went off Chara’s skate and into the net at 14:24, erasing all of the B’s hard work to that point.
Then came a crushing goal with 46.1 left in the second. Antoine Vermette took the puck deep on the left wing and found Ritchie, who sneaked in behind McAvoy for the chip-in to make it 3-1 with their second goal on just three second-period shots.
And at 2:35, the Ducks all but ended it. Perry stripped Miller of the puck on a breakout, fired toward the net and Derek Grant tipped it past Rask to make it 4-1. Noel Acciari added a goal with 22 seconds left, but the game was long over.
“(The margin of error) is very thin, especially with how hard we have to work for our goals,” said Rask. “We haven’t been scoring a lot lately and goals have been tough to come by. So we can’t afford to have any unlucky bounces against us. Tonight we had a couple.”
Anaheim 4 Boston 2
Chicago 6 NY Rangers 3
Detroit 8 Calgary 2
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