The Bruins started their three-game tour of California with a stop in Anaheim Tuesday. Boston went down 3-0 in the second period and rallied to cut it to 3-2 in the third period but the Ducks had the last laugh with two late goals for a 5-2 win at the Honda Center.
Anaheim (32-8-5) now has the most points in the NHL; they also became only the fifth team in the past 40 years to get 40 points in their first 20 home games in a season (18-0-2).
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Boston (28-13-2) had a couple days between games coming into Tuesday but they couldn’t have planned for Milan Lucic’s absence. He was a late scratch with the flu so Carl Soderberg moved to the first line. Somehow Anaheim came into this matchup with the 25th ranked power play in the NHL yet they scored three times with a man advantage and also added a shorthanded goal.
The B’s played one of their best periods of the season in the first but they had nothing to show for it: they outshot Anaheim 16-3 but it was 0-0. Mathieu Perreault broke the deadlock with a one-timer on the power play, followed shortly by a rebound and goal by Corey Perry on the power play. UNH product Daniel Winnik made it 3-0 with a shorthanded goal later in the second. Boston appeared on the brink of getting blown out but Daniel Paille saved them with a backhander at 19:44.
Dougie Hamilton cut it to 3-2 after great net-front work by Carl Soderberg and Jarome Iginla. Boston nearly tied it but David Krejci was robbed by Jonas Hiller (30 saves) then BU’s Nick Bonino put it out of a reach with the final power play goal. Perreault’s second goal of the game only served to make the outcome seem more one-sided than it actually was in reality. The Bruins play the Kings on Thursday (10:30, NESN) at Staples Center.
What they'll be saying: Justin Florek was already in the lineup for the second straight game since Jordan Caron has a stiff back (insert joke here). He recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Paille’s goal. For the first time this season, Boston chose to dress 11 forwards and seven (one extra) defensemen-in this case Kevan Miller. You’d have to think that Lucic will be back on Thursday in Los Angeles and Shawn Thornton’s suspension is over after that game is complete.
Today was an important day around the NHL because it was the final deadline for rosters to be submitted for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. As expected, the Bruins have five players going to Russia: Zdeno Chara (Slovakia), Krejci (Czech Republic), Patrice Bergeron (Canada), Tukkaa Rask (Finland) and Loui Eriksson (Sweden). Eriksson hasn’t returned yet from his concussion but he’s practiced the last few days in a green jersey (non-contact) so he must be close to game action.
This was the second of two meetings this season between the Bruins and Ducks, Boston won 3-2 in a shootout at TD Garden on Halloween. That means the only possible return engagement would be the Stanley Cup Final in June. As long as they get there, I don’t think any Bruins fans would complain and while Bruins-Ducks doesn’t have the Original Six sexiness of Bruins-Blackhawks, it would be very entertaining.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer on Twitter: @RichSlate