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Two-and-a-half hours before the Boston Red Sox took to the field to play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first game of the American League Division Series, Boston and Anaheim, thanks to a scheduling coincidence, were also facing-off on the ice. In what can now be called a predictive match of what was to come for the Red Sox, the Bruins were thoroughly handled by the Ducks in a 6-1 loss.
Despite a strong effort in the first period in which the Bruins took a 1-0 lead after a Marco Sturm put one of the team’s 19 first-period shots past Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller at 16:33 on a crisp pass from Marc Savard, Boston seemed to unravel after Teemu Selanne’s scored his first goal of the game (and season) during a 5-on-3 advantage 2:13 into the second period after Matt Hunwick and Sturm were sent to the penalty box (interference and hooking, respectively). Selanne scored again 83 seconds later as the Ducks remained on the power play and Anaheim never let the Bruins back in.
After the Bruins failed to capitalize on two power plays, Corey Perry added an insurance goal for the Ducks as they took a 3-1 lead with 6:58 left in the second period. Goals by Evgeny Artyukhin (say it ten times fast) and Bobby Ryan in the third made it 5-1 before Perry scooped up the puck in his defensive zone during a penalty kill, transformed himself into Apolo Anton Ohno as he broke-away from the Bruins defense, and scored when the puck bounced off of his helmet after Bruins goalie Tim Thomas failed to control the rebound on Perry’s original shot. (As the Associated Press enjoys pointing out, this was at the same moment Selanne was asking Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle why Perry was even skating on the penalty kill). If the Bruins weren’t completely deflated before Perry’s lucky goal, they certainly were for the final 53 seconds of the game.
While it’s difficult to say that the Bruins of the first period were really stud-like, I’m looking for the silver lining. They took 19 shots compared to Anaheim’s 11, scored on one of those shots, allowed no goals, and took no penalties.
It’s tough to know what happened in the locker room in between the first and second periods, but whatever it was, it needs to not happen again. The Bruins managed fewer shots in the second and third periods combined (11 + 4 = 15) than the first (19). They went 0-for-5 on the power play (to go 0-for-6 in the game) and 0-for-2 on the penalty kill. In the face-off circle, the B’s were 23-for-59, including an abomination of an effort by David Krejci, who was 3-for-13. In fairness, the Bruins did hold Anaheim to just six shots in the second period. Unfortunately for Boston, half of those went in.
“Losing is always disappointing, but when you lose that way it’s even worse. No emotion out there. We played a terrible game.” –Steve Begin, Bruins center
There were no fights in the match (probably because the Bruins know that if you mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock); in fact, there weren’t even any roughing minors, which is odd considering the size and grit of the two teams. However, there were many occasions during which I wanted to punch the Ducks commentators. Many thanks to ESPN360-Europe for failing to provide the NESN broadcast.