Jaroslav Halak stopped all 30 shots he faced and Chris Wagner had the empty net goal against his former team in the Boston Bruins’ 3-0 shutout victory over the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Friday.
Halak (15-9-4 record, 2.35 goals against average, .923 save percentage in 30 games played) earned his 4th shutout of the season (46th career shutout) and became the 14th goaltender in Bruins franchise history to record at least four shutouts in his first season with the club.
Byron Dafoe was the last Boston goaltender to do so in his first season with the B’s, recording six shutouts in 1997-98.
Noel Acciari and Jake DeBrusk also had goals for Boston in the win.
Kevin Boyle (1-1-0, 1.52 GAA, .955 SV% in three games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against for a .929 SV% in the loss for Anaheim.
Boston improved to 33-17-8 (74 points) on the season and remains in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, while the Ducks fell to 22-27-9 (53 points) thus far and stayed in 7th in the Pacific Division.
The Bruins improved to 21-4-5 when scoring first this season, as well as 21-1-3 when leading after two periods. With Friday’s win, the B’s are now 12-10-5 on the road this season (including 1-0-0 on the current road trip) and 6-0-1 in the month of February.
Anaheim is now 3-16-4 since Dec. 18th with the loss on Friday. The Ducks also trailed on the scoreboard after two periods for the 29th time this season and fell to 6-21-2 in that span.
Bruce Cassidy didn’t make any changes to his lineup from Tuesday, but indicated prior to Thursday’s practice in Anaheim that Karson Kuhlman would make his NHL debut on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings and Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) would return to the lineup as well.
Kuhlman was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) prior to the B’s departure for their current road trip with David Pastrnak (left thumb) out of the action.
Steven Kampfer remains on conditioning loan to Providence and technically a healthy scratch for the Bruins on Friday.
Early in the first period, Brandon Carlo ripped a slap shot from the point that was tipped in by Acciari (2) to give Boston the, 1-0, lead at 5:31 of the opening frame.
Carlo (3) and Sean Kuraly (9) had the assists on the goal.
Entering the first intermission, despite leading on the scoreboard, the B’s trailed the Ducks, 11-8, in shots on goal.
Nine seconds into the ensuing skater advantage, DeBrusk (16) buried a rebound to give Boston a two-goal lead on the power play.
DeBrusk tied his career-high in goals– set last season– and now has goals in back-to-back games after a 13-game goalless drought prior to Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
14 seconds after Boston capitalized on their first power play of the night, Brandon Montour got a stick up high on Peter Cehlarik and cut a rut to the penalty box, leaving the B’s with their second power play opportunity of the game.
The Bruins were not able to convert on Montour’s penalty.
Moments later, Wagner was penalized for interference at 8:57 of the middle frame, giving the Ducks their first look on the power play of the night.
The Ducks amassed three shots on goal through almost four minutes on the power play and could not beat Halak.
Through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing Anaheim in shots on goal (22-17). Boston held the advantage in giveaways (12-7) and face-off win percentage (61-39), while the Ducks led in blocked shots (12-8) and hits (19-16).
Both teams had four takeaways aside as Anaheim went 0/2 and Boston went 1/2 on the power play heading into the 3rd period.
Derek Grant jumpstarted the action in the third period with a holding penalty at 1:13, but the Bruins were not able to convert on the resulting power play.
Instead, shortly after the power play expired, Moore bumped into Boyle and received a two-minute fraction for goaltender inference at 13:05 of the third period.
The Ducks did not muster any offense on the ensuing power play.
Interim head coach (and current Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Ducks), Bob Murray, pulled his goaltender with about two minutes remaining in regulation for the extra attacker, but it was too little, too late.
Especially more so after Wagner (7) put the game away with his empty net goal at 18:29. Kuraly (10) and Zdeno Chara (6) collected the assists on Wagner’s goal against his former team.
The goal also tied Wagner’s career-high for most goals in a season (seven) and was the 13th empty net goal allowed by the Ducks in the 2018-19 regular season.
At the final horn, Boston had defeated Anaheim, 3-0.
Though the Ducks actually led the Bruins all night in shots on goal (finishing with a, 30-29, advantage), they could not beat the B’s defense and Halak.
Anaheim finished the night leading in blocked shots (16-13) and hits (27-22), while Boston led in giveaways (14-12) and face-off win% (65-35).
The Ducks went 0/3 on the skater advantage and the B’s finished Friday 1/4 on the power play.
The Bruins are now on a four-game winning streak as they continue their two-week road trip against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, then pay a visit to the San Jose Sharks on Monday, before swinging through the Vegas Golden Knights (Feb. 20th) and St. Louis Blues (Feb. 23rd).
Boston’s next home game this month is Feb. 26th against the Sharks.