With the exception of a brief lull to start the third period, the Boston Bruins did almost everything to deserve a victory, but the Anaheim Ducks finished with a 3-2 win Monday night at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
For the first 40 minutes, the Bruins played their preferred physical style, were strong on the forecheck and sustained that relentlessness, but the Ducks capitalized early in the third period en route to victory. Despite the loss, it was a solid effort by the Bruins to start their four-game West Coast trip.
Two wrongs: Yes, the referees missed the Ducks' Devante Smith-Pelly holding the stick of Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski when Anaheim scored its second goal of the game at 19:38 of the second period. Prior to Smith-Pelly redirecting a shot past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, Bartkowski was more concerned with getting the ref's attention than clearing out his man in front. As Smith-Pelly was holding Bartkowski's stick, the defenseman had his other arm in the air, trying to get a penalty call, leaving Smith-Pelly with good position for the tip-in. Bartkowski can complain all he wants, but he lost focus and it cost the Bruins.
The fourth line: The Bruins' fourth line of Simon Gagne, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille played probably its best game of the season and was rewarded for the effort when Gagne scored Boston's second goal of the game at 10:20 of the third period. The goal was Gagne's 600th career NHL point. From a defensive standpoint, this unit kept Anaheim's offense at bay.
Special teams: Despite going 0-for-3 on the power play, the Bruins showed improvement on the man-advantage. Boston generated 11 shots on the PP and created solid puck movement. The Bruins are now 0 for their last 14 on the power play. Brad Marchand's even-strength goal came at the tail end of Boston's third man-advantage of the game. The Bruins went 3-for-3 on the PK and generated a few shorthanded bids.
Al dente: Bruins rookie David Pastrnak continues to hone his skills, and Bruins coach Claude Julien is putting the 18-year-old forward in a position to succeed. Pastrnak played again with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand. In fact, Pastrnak registered his first NHL point, assisting on Marchand's sixth goal of the season. Pastrnak also worked on the power play.