The Boston Bruins fell behind by a pair of goals before the end of the first period, rallied to tie the game early in the third period and lost it in the dying seconds as the Anaheim Ducks bookended power-play goals Tuesday night at Honda Center in a, 4-3, victory for the home team.
John Gibson (17-14-8, 2.84 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in 39 games played) made 31 saves on 34 shots against in the win for Anaheim.
Boston goaltender, Linus Ullmark (17-9-1, 2.80 goals-against average, .908 save percentage in 28 games played), turned aside 24 out of 28 shots faced in the loss.
The Bruins fell to 32-18-4 (68 points) on the season and remain in 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference as a result.
The Ducks improved to 26-21-9 (61 points) overall, but stuck in 5th place in the Pacific Division as a result of the win.
Anaheim also swept the regular season series against Boston 2-0-0.
Bruce Cassidy made no changes to his lineup from Monday night’s, 7-0, shutout win in Los Angeles to Tuesday night’s action in Anaheim as the Bruins remained without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) and Curtis Lazar (upper body).
Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh remained in the press box as Boston’s healthy scratches against the Ducks.
Nick Foligno and Sam Carrick kicked the night off with a burst of energy as the two exchanged fisticuffs at 2:20 of the first period– yielding five-minute majors for fighting in the process in what was the 18th fight of the season for Boston and second in as many nights.
A few minutes later, Brad Marchand was sent to the box with a minor infraction for cross checking as the Bruins veteran illegally used his stick on Derek Grant at 5:35 of the first period.
It didn’t take Anaheim long to convert on the ensuing power play as Derek Forbort gave it away to Ducks defender, Jamie Drysdale, at the point in Boston’s own zone.
Drysdale slid the rubber biscuit along the blue line as the puck found its way to Trevor Zegras before Zegras set up Ryan Getzlaf for a clear shot on goal that rebounded off Ullmark to Rickard Rakell as Rakell (15) crashed the net and buried it.
Getzlaf (26) and Zegras (27) tallied the assists on Rakell’s power-play goal and Anaheim went ahead, 1-0, at 6:33 of the first period.
Less than a couple of minutes later, Boston responded with a goal of their own– this time on a redirection as Foligno (2) changed the course of a shot from the point by Brandon Carlo through his own legs and that of Gibson’s five-hole– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
Carlo (5) and Tomáš Nosek (8) had the assists on Foligno’s goal at 8:15 of the first period as the two teams swapped momentum in the first half of the opening frame.
Towards the end of the period, however, everything came up just ducky.
Cam Fowler fired a shot on Ullmark that Isac Lundeström (13) gathered with ease and pocketed on the rebound to put the Ducks back in front, 2-1, at 17:53.
Fowler (21) and Jakob Silfvergberg (16) tallied the assists on the goal.
Less than two minutes later, Adam Henrique (10) received a pass from Troy Terry and unloaded on a catch and release shot to give Anaheim a two-goal lead at 19:03.
Terry (19) and Getzlaf (27) were credited with the assists as the Ducks took a, 3-1, lead into the first intermission.
Anaheim led in shots on goal, 9-7, after one period and held the advantage in blocked shots (6-5), takeaways (4-2), hits (10-6) and faceoff win percentage (58-42), as well.
Boston led in giveaways (4-2) through 20 minutes, while only the Ducks had seen any time on the power play and went 1/1 entering the middle frame.
Grant tripped Nosek and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 2:51 of the second period, but Boston’s ensuing skater advantage was cut short at 4:03 when Taylor Hall interfered with Lundeström away from the play as the two collided in the neutral zone at 4:03.
After 48 seconds of 4-on-4 action, the Ducks went on an abbreviated power play that the B’s managed to kill off without issue.
Midway through the middle frame Carlo (5) sent a shot from the point that had eyes as it bounced off of Gibson and squeezed its way under his arm into the twine– pulling the Bruins to within one goal in the process.
Nosek (9) and Foligno (7) tallied the assists as Boston trailed, 3-2, at 11:15 of the second period– giving Foligno his first career Gordie Howe hat trick in the process as No. 17 in black and gold wracked up a fight, goal and an assist in Tuesday night’s effort.
Through 40 minutes of action, Anaheim led, 3-2, on the scoreboard despite Boston holding the advantage in shots on net, 21-16, including a, 14-7, advantage in the second period alone.
The Bruins also led in blocked shots (11-9) and hits (17-14) heading into the second intermission, while the Ducks led in takeaways (5-3), giveaways (6-5) and faceoff win% (54-46).
Boston was 0/1 and Anaheim was 1/2 on the power play entering the final frame.
David Pastrnak took a hit in the neutral zone as the puck rolled off his stick into the attacking zone while Hall raced to retrieve it.
Hall sent a pass back to Pastrnak (29) as the B’s leading goal scorer broke into the zone and blasted a shot from the point off of Carrick and behind Gibson while Erik Haula acted as a screen amidst the net front traffic.
Pastrnak’s goal tied the game, 3-3, as Hall (28) and Haula (15) picked up credit for the assists at 1:52 of the third period.
The Bruins had swung momentum in their favor and dominated possession in the offensive zone for the better part of the third period until the Ducks began to surge late in the action.
Charlie McAvoy got caught behind a play and hooked Getzlaf in front of Boston’s own net, yielding a power play to Anaheim at 19:14 of the third period.
It didn’t take long for the Ducks to capitalize on the resulting special teams advantage after head coach, Dallas Eakins, used his team’s timeout to drum up a plan with 45.9 seconds left on the clock.
Anaheim sent the puck around the horn while on the power play until Getzlaf sent the rubber biscuit to Drysdale, who then found Zegras (14) for the final blow on a shot from the outer edge of the circle with Sonny Milano screening Ullmark’s view as the puck rang the inside of the post and went in on the glove side.
Drysdale (20) and Getzlaf (28) notched the assists on what would be the game-winning power-play goal from Zegras at 19:38 of the third period and the Ducks led, 4-3.
Boston pulled their goaltender for an extra skater with about a dozen seconds left, but couldn’t establish enough of a zone presence to muster a last-ditch shot on goal as the seconds ticked down and the final horn sounded.
Anaheim had won, 4-3, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 34-28, including a, 13-12, advantage for the Bruins in the third period alone.
The Ducks left their own ice with two points and another victory in the regulation win column, while leading in blocked shots (16-14), giveaways (9-8), hits (24-23) and faceoff win% (51-49).
Anaheim went 2/3 on the power play, while Boston went 0/1 on the skater advantage Tuesday night.
The B’s fell to 10-11-3 (4-5-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-11-2 (0-5-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 3-14-2 (0-6-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.
The Ducks, meanwhile, improved to 22-7-4 (13-2-2 at home) when scoring first, 17-2-2 (11-0-2 at home) when leading after one period and 18-2-1 (11-0-1 at home) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins visit the Vegas Golden Knights Thursday night (9 p.m. ET on ESPN) before wrapping up their six-game road trip (3-1-0) in Columbus on Saturday night.
Boston returns home to host the Los Angeles Kings next Monday (March 7th).