Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports

Ducks 4, Bruins 2: Not enough finish in B's game

Ty Anderson
November 16, 2017 - 1:51 am

With the exception of a beautiful Danton Heinen backhand goal that left Anaheim netminder John Gibson swimming, the Bruins had nothing to show for a completely dominant second period.

That’s a shame, but also seems par for the course in what ended as yet another loss for the Bruins, this one by a 4-2 final to the Ducks on Wednesday night.

In a manageable 0-1 hole through the opening 20 minutes of play, the Bruins straight-up rolled the Ducks for the first half of that middle frame, with the period’s first 12 shots coming off Boston sticks, and with the aforementioned Heinen goal making things even.

The Bruins should have had much more than just the Heinen goal, too, as Gibson robbed Riley Nash with a tremendous save less than four minutes into the second period. 

But Anaheim’s second “shot” of the period was really just a puck banked off the skate of Zdeno Chara and through Tuukka Rask for the go-ahead goal. The goal, credited to Josh Manson, was more than enough to take the wind of the B’s sails and make Rask throw his hands up in frustration, and was followed by a Nick Ritchie net-front putaway scored with just 47 seconds left in the period.

It's almost impossible to imagine that a period that favored the Bruins in shot by a 15-to-3 mark somehow ended with the Ducks holding a 3-1 lead. 

To make matters worse, a relentless Corey Perry forced a Kevan Miller turnover and rifled home a shot tipped by Derek Grant just 2:35 into the third period, which firmly buried the Bruins.

And despite a season-high 40 shots on Gibson, including a breakaway opportunity for Nash, it was not until the 59:38 mark of this game that the Bruins found their second and final goal of the game, scored by fourth-line winger Noel Acciari and with just 22 seconds left to erase a two-goal deficit.

That obviously did not happen, either, as Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins walked off as losers for the fourth straight contest, and for the seventh time in their last nine games overall.

There's a lot to dissect if you're the Bruins, but this latest defeat really comes back to that 4:49 second period segment and its two simple shots that allowed the Ducks to nullify yet another should-have-been game-changing stretch for the Bruins. This is basically the theme of their recent losses, too, as the Bruins have routinely taken over large segments of games, but typically struggled to break things open in order to pull away from the opposition.

That comes back to the reality that this Black and Gold group, currently limited by both injuries and a multitude of young-faced players still trying to build their game into legitimately and consistently NHL-ready, lacks the finishing prowess needed to beat quality netminders with any sort of regularity. It appears difficult for this group to even beat average-at-best goaltenders, as last Saturday’s 38-of-39 performance from the Maple Leafs’ Curtis McElhinney -- and on TD Garden ice, no less -- told you. 

With that inability to capitalize on the ebb and flow of the game that favors their shorthanded group, it's just become tough to imagine the Bruins mustering much of anything when they go against teams that hold a definite advantage over them in departments such as size, experience, speed, and/or offensive timing.

Y'know, just about everything that this game is based upon, and just about everything that they're missing right now.  

Rask made saves on 22 of the 26 shots faced in a losing effort, and is now 0-5-0 with an .846 save percentage in five career road starts against the Ducks. As a team, meanwhile, the Bruins have not defeated the Ducks in Anaheim since 2012 and have just one victory in their last eight trips to the Honda Center dating back to 2007.

Good news: The Bruins believe they’ll get David Krejci back in the lineup for Thursday’s game in Los Angeles. The Bruins have just three wins in 11 games without Krejci.

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