The Ducks managed to win four of their first five games this season without scoring a single power-play goal, but their lack of finish with the man advantage came back to bite them today in a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. After cutting a two-goal deficit in half with a late goal in the second period from Rickard Rakell, the Ducks got a power play - their fourth of the game. It was a crucial juncture in the game, as the Ducks controlled momentum for the majority of the second period.
The Ducks failed to convert, and the Bruins - more specifically David Pastrnak - responded with two unanswered goals in the third period to put the game on ice. Pastrnak provided all the offense for the Bruins today with his first career four-goal performance. Two of his four came on the power play, and one came off a fortunate bounce after the Ducks had iced the puck multiple times in succession in the third.
"You can tell they've been playing together for a long time now," said Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer. "They're gelling really well. They complement each other. [Patrice] Bergeron is one of the best players at both sides of the ice. He covers a lot of ice and is very good in faceoffs, and that helps them start with the puck. They're deadly with the power play. They move the puck well and know where the other person is. They made some nice plays. Pastrnak is a shooter, and he made us pay today."
It was a good test for the Ducks, perhaps their toughest all season, as the Bruins (like the Ducks) came in with a 4-1-0 mark. With nearly the same lineup that went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season, the Bruins quickly opened the scoring today with a power-play tally from Pastrnak at the 4:18 mark of the first period.
Though the season is still young, the Ducks had arguably their best 20-minute stretch of hockey in the second period when they dominated the Bruins. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert on 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 rushes, and two breakaways before Rakell finally got one past Jaroslav Halak, who finished with a 30-save performance. At the opposite end of the ice, John Gibson did everything he could, stopping 19-of-23 shots in the loss. Despite the loss, the Ducks showed good fight throughout the game and stayed true to their game plan despite falling behind by two goals.
Video: ANA@BOS: Rakell wires home a wrist shot past Halak
"If we get a bounce here or there, we could've won every game on this road trip," said Holzer. "We played really well over the course of the trip. Even today, we needed time to settle in and get used to their style of play. After that, we played right up to their level, maybe even better at times. We were right there to tie it in the third with the power play. That's the difference right now. We can't score to tie the game, and they come back and score to make it 3-1.
Adam Henrique scored his second goal of the season with 3:52 remaining in regulation when Nick Ritchie forced Halak to cough up the puck at the side of the net. Henrique cruised in and hammered a shot into the back of the net.
Video: ANA@BOS: Henrique scores on Ritchie's deft steal
The Ducks finished their four-game road trip with a 2-2-0 record, and will open a three-game homestand beginning Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres at Honda Center.