In a battle of the two most injured teams in the NHL, it was the Anaheim Ducks who came out on top over our Boston Bruins Wednesday night in Southern California. The Bruins outshot the Ducks 41-27 but could not bury their opportunities in a 4-2 loss to kick off a difficult road trip.
Anaheim struck first 13:26 into the opening period, with former Northeastern Husky Kevin Roy scoring his first NHL goal. He got a fortunate bounce through traffic in the slot and batted a backhander past Tuukka Rask to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Boston found itself playing from behind yet again.
The Bruins completely controlled the first 14 minutes or so of the second period, and the tides began to turn. They were winning puck battles and generating scoring chances without allowing the Ducks to even take a shot on net. Their efforts were rewarded 8:38 into the middle frame when Danton Heinen buried a backhand shot to cap off an impressive shift by his line.
Heinen forced a turnover to begin the play, and hard work deep in the zone created a lane to the net for him to display his skill and patience on the way to his third goal of the season. This goal tied the game 1-1, and all signs were pointing in the Bruins’ direction.
Late in the period, Ducks forward Corey Perry drew a penalty on Zdeno Chara while taking the puck to the net. On the delayed call, Josh Manson threw a shot towards the net, and it deflected off of Chara’s skate and in, giving Anaheim its lead back.
At this point, the Bruins were still in a good spot in this game. They trailed 2-1, but they had a fantastic period, and the Ducks just happened to get a lucky bounce. However, in the final minute of the period, Nick Ritchie got body position on Charlie McAvoy in the slot and one-timed an Antoine Vermette pass into the net to extend the lead to 3-1.
Ritchie’s goal felt like a backbreaker. The Bruins outshot the Ducks 15-3 in the second period but were outscored 2-1. Finishing out periods has been an issue for this team, and it is a frustrating trend that needs to be solved.
The Ducks picked up where they left off to begin the third, and Perry stole the puck from Kevan Miller before firing a shot off of Derek Grant and in to make it 4-1. That was the final nail in the coffin as the Ducks officially put the game out of reach.
That marks four straight losses for the Bruins, and the schedule is only getting more difficult in the coming weeks. They will head to LA, San Jose and New Jersey to close out the road trip against three playoff teams. The Ducks, who are also riddled with injuries, were viewed as the most beatable team on this trip. The B’s have their hands full as we near Thanksgiving.