Over the course of an 82-game season, the Bruins will naturally lose games they should win, but the opposite is also true and it came to life on Thursday as they escaped with a 3-2 shootout win over the Ducks at TD Garden. Boston (8-4-0) was playing the second night of a back-to-back against some of the NHL’s elite but it bounced back after a disappointing 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh the night before.
“I’m not going to say that we’re playing great hockey,” admitted head coach Claude Julien, “but we had a tough game against the Penguins then we came back here to play a good team that was rested and fresher. It was a gutsy effort for us.”
Zdeno Chara scored a power-play goal with 2:50 left in regulation to tie it at two while Jarome Iginla had the lone goal in the shootout as Tuukka Rask (21 saves) stopped all three Ducks with help from a post (Ryan Getzlaf was the final shooter and he rang his shot off the iron to end it). The first period could have been played in quicksand as Anaheim (10-3-1) outshot Boston 5-1, the B’s came close to having no shots on goal in the frame.
Devante Smith-Pelly had given the Ducks a 1-0 lead 1:52 into the game but Carl Soderberg answered on a breakaway in the second period for his first NHL goal. Ryan Spooner had an assist on Soderberg’s tally, his first NHL point after he was recalled from Providence earlier in the day. Another late goal hurt the Bruins as Matheiu Perreault turned around and fired one past Rask with 21 seconds left. Chara not only scored the clutch goal but he drew the tripping penalty that gave them the man advantage. He led everyone with nearly 30 minutes of ice time (29:45).
Spooner was caught off guard by getting called up.
“I was preparing to go to practice (with the Providence Bruins) when I found out. I tried to stay as positive as I could while I was playing down there and I’m grateful they had the confidence in me to call me up and even use me on the shootout (his shot was stopped).”
The B's are off Friday, but they finish their second three games in four nights stretch in Long Island on Saturday (7, NESN) vs. the up and down Islanders (4-5-3) who are better than their mediocre record indicates.
What they'll be saying: His stats don’t jump off the page and he only skated 12:22 but it felt like more from Spooner, he seemed to make plays every time he was on the ice. The Bruins had to be happy with his game on such short notice; Jordan Caron had been sputtering so Spooner breathed some life into Boston’s third line with Chris Kelly and Soderberg. Torey Krug was minus-2 (lowest of anyone in the game), but Julien could live with that since he made a really nice play to keep the puck in the zone on Chara’s goal. With a team that often struggles to string passes together or get much from its breakout, Krug’s strengths ensure that his place in the lineup is secure. For a guy that’s known for often coasting in the regular season, David Krejci (2 goals, team-high 11 assists) has been a new man so far in 2013-14.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate