David Krejci became the 10th player to reach 600 points with the Boston Bruins on Thursday as a result of his insurance goal in Boston’s, 3-1, victory over the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden.
Krejci reached the 600-point plateau in his 804th career NHL game.
Fellow Czech forward, David Pastrnak had a three-point night (1-2–3 totals) and Torey Krug became the all-time leader in assists by a US-born defender in Bruins franchise history, notching his 200th career assist with Boston in the win.
Jaroslav Halak (11-5-2 record, 2.20 goals against average, .930 save percentage in 20 games played) made 24 saves on 25 shots against for a .930 SV% in the win for the Bruins, while Anaheim’s John Gibson (15-10-4, 2.54 GAA, .926 SV% in 30 GP) turned aside 28 out of 31 shots faced for a .903 SV% in the loss.
The B’s improved to 19-12-4 (42 points) on the season and remained in 4th place in the Atlantic Division, while the Ducks fell to 19-13-5 (43 points) and remained in 3rd place in the Pacific Division, tied in points with the San Jose Sharks, though the Sharks have two games in-hand.
Boston currently holds the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the Buffalo Sabres by three points for the final Atlantic divisional spot in the postseason.
On Tuesday, Boston placed recent waiver acquisition, Gemel Smith, on waivers for the purpose of assignment to Providence. The Bruins also assigned defender, Jeremy Lauzon, to the P-Bruins on the same day.
Smith, 24, (2-1–3 totals in 17 games with the Bruins and Dallas Stars this season) cleared waivers Wednesday and subsequently joined Providence’s roster.
Lauzon, 21, made his NHL debut on Oct. 25th against the Philadelphia Flyers and recorded his first career NHL goal on Nov. 11th against the Vegas Golden Knights.
He had 1-3–4 totals in 15 games with Boston prior to being assigned and had 1-6–7 totals in 52 games with Providence last season (his first professional season).
Bruce Cassidy made no changes to his lineup from Monday night’s, 4-0, victory in Montreal to Thursday night’s battle with Anaheim and indicated a minor injury for Tuukka Rask, as well as Boston’s recent record against the Ducks influenced his decision in starting Halak on Thursday.
Prior to Thursday’s final outcome, the Bruins had lost nine-straight games against the Ducks in the regular season.
As a result of Tuesday’s transactions, the only players listed out of the lineup against Anaheim for Boston were all injury related, as Zdeno Chara (knee, left MCL), Patrice Bergeron (rib/sternoclavicular), Urho Vaakanainen (concussion), Jake DeBrusk (concussion) and Kevan Miller (larynx) remain out of action.
Bergeron addressed the media after Thursday’s morning skate and indicated the team doctors and trainers will have the final say in his return to the lineup– though he is pushing for Saturday or Sunday.
Anaheim did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage and moments later was charged with a tripping infraction of their own as Andrew Cogliano got his stick tangled in Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson‘s legs at 6:44.
After one period of play, both teams remained tied, 0-0, with the B’s leading in shots on goal, 8-7, despite the Ducks leading in just about every other statistical category.
Anaheim led in blocked shots (7-2), takeaways (6-3), giveaways (12-4) and face-off win percentage (65-35), while both teams recorded seven hits aside entering the first intermission.
The Ducks were 0/2 on the power play, while Boston went 0/1 after 20 minutes.
Hampus Lindholm kicked off a string of action in the second period as Pastrnak drew an interference penalty, yielding another Bruins power play at 7:44 of the second period.
On the ensuing skater advantage the Bruins almost flubbed the puck out of the zone, had the puck taken an awkward bounce off of David Backes‘ stick.
Instead, the rubber biscuit landed on the stick blade of Krug’s, which the defender quickly flung it to Pastrnak (22) for the surefire power play goal at 8:19.
Krug (17) and Backes (6) had the assists on the goal and the Bruins led, 1-0.
Brad Marchand found himself all over the scoresheet for various reasons Thursday night, starting with a slashing minor against Ryan Getzlaf at 12:20, but shortly followed up by drawing a penalty as Cogliano slashed Marchand about five minutes later.
Boston went on the power play at 17:58 when Cogliano went back to the box for a second time, but it wasn’t long before the B’s power play came to an end.
The Bruins won a face-off in the offensive zone and worked the puck to Pastrnak, then Marchand and finally to Krug (4) at the point, whereby No. 47 in black-and-gold blasted a shot past Gibson to make it, 2-0, at 18:05 of the second period.
Marchand (24) and Pastrnak (21) had the assists on the power play goal and the Ducks didn’t even possess the puck on the short-lived, unsuccessful, penalty kill.
Entering the second intermission, Boston was ahead, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 18-15, in shots on goal. Anaheim led in blocked shots (9-6), giveaways (15-7), hits (19-17) and face-off win% (54-46), while both teams had eight takeaways each.
The Ducks were 0/3 on the power play and the B’s were 2/3.
Though the score wouldn’t remain the same, Boston would go on to improve to 14-1-0 when leading after two periods and Anaheim fell to 6-9-2 when trailing after 40 minutes.
The Bruins also improved to 12-2-2 when scoring first in a game this season.
Shortly after killing off Carlo’s minor infraction, Krejci (7) rocketed a shot past Gibson at 5:21 to give the B’s a three-goal lead.
Pastrnak (22) and Marchand (25) were credited with the assists as Pastrnak completed a three-point night and Krejci extended his point-streak to eight games (and 5-6–11 totals in those eight games).
Getzlaf hooked Marchand at 10:14 in the game’s final penalty, but the Bruins were unsuccessful on the resulting power play.
Late in the final frame of regulation, Josh Mahura (1) received a pass back to the point off of a face-off in Anaheim’s attacking zone and sent a slap shot past Halak for his first career NHL goal.
Carter Rowney (5) had the only assist on the goal at 15:44 and the Ducks got on the board, 3-1.
With about a minute remaining in regulation, Randy Carlyle pulled Gibson for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail as the Bruins secured the, 3-1, victory upon the final horn.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 31-25, while the Ducks led in giveaways (20-8), hits (25-22) and face-off win% (55-45).
Both teams had ten blocked shots aside as the Ducks went 0/4 on the power play and the B’s went 2/4.
With the mandatory, league-wide, three-day Christmas break fast approaching, the Bruins finish up their pre-Christmas action with another weekend of back-to-back action at home and on the road.
Boston faces the Nashville Predators Saturday afternoon on home ice before traveling to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Whalers Night at PNC Arena this Sunday.