BostonBruins.com - The Bruins began their four-game western road trip on Sunday night with a thrilling, hard-fought overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brad Marchand's breakaway goal propelled the Bruins to their fourth straight win, bridging the five-day bye week the players enjoyed prior to the contest.
Next up on the B's tour of California are the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins dropped their first contest against the Ducks at home, 4-3.
Puck drop is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. EST on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Here is what you need to know:
The Bruins (30-23-6, 66 points) victory on Sunday broke an NHL trend that had seen the past ten teams lose in their first game following the bye week.
Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy's team played an inspired brand of hockey en route to their fourth win in four games under their new leader. Despite his success, the undefeated coach is deflecting the credit for the positive attitude in the locker room.
"When you have your ups, you tend to be a little more enthusiastic about coming to the rink and when things don't go well, then everyone gets a little more guarded," said Cassidy.
Cassidy's pursuit for a fifth straight win goes through a talented Ducks team looking to reassert dominance after a 3-2 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
"All three pairs are going to have to do their job," Cassidy said of the B's backend. "Like I said, they've got threats on every line."
Cassidy feels that his team should be even better in Anaheim now that they are one game and three practices removed from the bye week, and with a better grasp on the standings now that teams initially with games in hand have gotten caught up.
"Yes. I do feel that we've had some time to practice and review a few things, in terms of our system. If you look at the standings, some teams are starting to catch up to us in games played, so we're getting to be even with them in the home stretch," said Cassidy.
Though the players welcomed the bye week, Adam McQuaid stressed the importance of the team's two practice days in between Sunday and Wednesday's games.
"It's good to be able to get a few consecutive days of practice," said McQuaid. "As you've seen, it's not always easy coming back from the breaks, especially the way it's set up with other teams staying in the groove. But it was good to be able to find a way to get the win last game, and you hope that little bit of time pays off."
Coach Cassidy did give a nod of approval to his team's warmer place of residence the past few days.
"To be out in California," he said, "is not a bad thing either."
Video: McQuaid checks in following practice in Anaheim
Opposing View: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks (31-20-10, 72 points) currently sit firmly in third place in the Pacific Division, with a 10-point advantage over the closest-trailing Calgary Flames.
Centerman and captain Ryan Getzlaf leads the offensive charge for Anaheim, having logged 11 goals and 34 assists for a team-leading 45 points.
In addition to Getzlaf, Corey Perry (11 goals and 29 assists) has continued to play a solid two-way game.
With the likes of Ryan Kesler (19 goals and 25 assists) and Rickard Rakell (22 goals and 10 assists) lighting the lamp so frequently, the Ducks have been able to rely on a balanced attack with loads of secondary scoring.
"They've got them spread out," said Bruce Cassidy of the Ducks' scoring threats and balanced attack. "Threats on each line, and actually the Kesler line has done a really good job so they've kept them together."
Defenseman Cam Fowler leads the charge on a backend, having amassed 31 points (11 goals and 20 assists) in 61 games. The overall team defense for the Ducks has been strong, with major contributions from their steady blueline.
Goaltender John Gibson has been quietly remarkable in his first season as the true starter. In 48 games, the 23-year-old has posted a 23-15-8 record with a 2.24 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. He figures to get the nod against Boston on Wednesday.
Anaheim ranks 22nd in the NHL in goals for (2.52 goals per game) and sixth in the NHL in goals allowed (2.49 goals per game).
Wait, There's More
- Brad Marchand's overtime game-winner on Sunday was his 25th goal of the season. The Bruins now have two 25-goal scorers, along with David Pastrnak. The Winnipeg Jets are the only team other team with two 25-goal scorers (Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele)
- Wednesday will mark the 32nd all-time meeting between the Bruins and the Ducks. The Bruins hold a 13-15-2-1 record against Anaheim.
Video: Bruins feeling good after four straight wins