The Boston Bruins got caught ‘California Dreamin’ and finally came back down to earth in a frustrating 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night.
Ducks forward Trevor Zegras scored his 14th goal of the season on the powerplay with 21.6 seconds left in regulation and snapped a five-game win streak for the Bruins who are now 3-1-0 on their current six-game road trip that now heads to Las Vegas for a tilt with the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
The Ducks took advantage of a flat Boston Bruins team and took an early 1-0 lead on a Rickard Rakell powerplay goal 6:33 into regulation. After Boston Bruins winger Nick Foligno tied the game at one at 8:15 into the first period, and the Ducks answered back with two straight goals from Isac Lundestrom and Adam Henrique in a span of 1:10 to close the opening frame, the Bruins awoke from their early slumber. Brandon Carlo cut the Ducks’ lead to one 11:15 into the second period and David Pastrnak tied the game 1:52 into the third period.
Whether it was the fatigue from four games in six nights or just a Ducks team playing desperate hockey to stay in the Western Conference playoff race, the Bruins reverted back to the sloppy play of the first period after Pastrnak’s goal. The helter-skelter play that ensued after that eventually led to the Zegras game-winner.
Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark (24 saves), did all he could to give the Bruins a chance to extend overtime with 11 saves in the third period and some huge ones in the waning moment but it wasn’t enough.
Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson finished the game with 31 saves.
GOLD STAR: Trevor Zegras – The highlight reel machine came up clutch again for the Ducks with a goal and an assist, including the game-winner in the final seconds of the game.
TREVOR ZEGRAS WITH 21 SECONDS LEFT! pic.twitter.com/mvuzHGgHN8
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 2, 2022
BLACK EYE: First Period And Final 5 Minutes Of Third Period – For a variety of reasons, this game smelled like a trap for the Bruins, and sure enough, that’s how it looked in the opening frame. The Bruins were a discombobulated bunch from the get-go and they were truly lucky to be down by just two goals after the first period. Turnovers and to be honest, lazy plays did them in and they would rear their ugly head again in the final minutes of the game as well.
TURNING POINT: McAvoy Hooking Penalty – Ok, let’s first acknowledge all who lambasted me on Twitter when I called out Charlie McAvoy on his hooking penalty at 19:14 of the third period that led to the game-winning powerplay goal by Zegras. Yes, Craig Smith’s turnover led to McAvoy’s hooking call but still, McAvoy is an elite defenseman in the NHL now and needs to find an alternative there. No one is excusing Smith’s boneheadedness but forgive me for holding McAvoy to a higher standard. While he deserves to be held to that higher standard, he needs to meet it when it matters most.
HONORABLE MENTION: Nick Foligno – If you’re an old-school hockey guy like myself, anytime a player gets the ‘Gordie Howe Hat Trick’ (goal, assist, fight), it brings joy to the hockey soul. Seeing a veteran, heart and soul type player like Nick Foligno avenge a fight with Ducks forward Sam Carrick that left him concussed earlier in the season and score his first goal in 17 games just 8:15 into the regulation was great.
— Jamie Gatlin (@JamieGatlin17) March 2, 2022
Nick Foligno deflects Brandon Carlo's shot past Gibson for the equalizer.
1-1 game. pic.twitter.com/QFaW6l7ERw
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) March 2, 2022
Then to see him assist on Carlo’s goal midway through the second for the Gordie Howe Hat Trick was pretty cool. Here’s hoping Foligno finds a role in the Bruins lineup going forward.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – The Bruins were unable to extend their win streak to six games but Pastrnak scored his 29th goal of the game and extended his point streak to six games after going pointless in four straight games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d ya like the play?” – NESN Bostin Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards after partner and color-man Andy Brickley recounted the Bruins’ third period demise.