BOSTON – It was magical while it lasted, but the Bruins dominance finally ran out against a heavy, tough Anaheim Ducks bunch that didn’t given the B’s an inch.
Instead the Bruins trailed for the entire game before falling to Anaheim by a 3-1 score on Tuesday night at TD Garden, and in doing so ended an 18-game point streak during which Boston put together a 14-0-4 record. The B’s were beaten on the ice in the scoring column, and they were bulled by a Ducks bunch that meted out plenty of abuse over the 60-minute hockey game.
It was bound to happen sooner or later after the Bruins hadn’t been beaten in regulation since a Dec. 14 home loss to the Washington Capitals. So it’s probably fitting the ending came at the hands of a Ducks hockey club the Bruins have not beaten in a good, long time, but even so Boston still had a chance to at least push for overtime thanks to Ryan Spooner’s goal in the closing minutes.
The Bruins might have been down after their first regulation loss in about six weeks, but they were also proud of matching the second-longest point streak in the long, Original Six history of the Black and Gold.
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“It was nice to be on it, don’t get me wrong. I take a lot of pride in it. We try to win every night, and it’s a credit to the guys,” said Cassidy. “It’s not going to go on forever; we all know that. It’s too good a league. It certainly put us in a good position in the standings to get on that roll, but we’ll have to start a new [point streak] now.”
As Cassidy alluded to, the Bruins hold a ridiculous 20-point cushion for an Atlantic Division playoff spot and losses like the Tuesday night setback against the Ducks have become the exception rather than the rule. The chasm between the B’s and a really substandard Atlantic Division pack really became monstrous as the Bruins embarked on their last six week burst of blowing out opponents, and they’re hoping to continue that as the schedule picks up in the second half of the year. They’re certainly going to need to start by actually playing well from the first drop of the puck through the final buzzer, and perhaps they have another streak in them.
“We can’t be looking back; we’ve got to be ahead and that’s very important for us, to make sure that…this part of the season everybody’s really playing desperate hockey. They’re chasing every point for either a better position into the playoffs or trying to get to the playoffs,” said Zdeno Chara. “We’ve got to realize that every team we’re going to play, they’re going to fight for their lives. We’ve got to match that intensity – the emotional part of the game – and make sure that we are ready to play from the first puck drop. [We’re] not waiting for the other team to set in play and then we respond. We’ve just got to be more engaged right from the start.”
The Bruins will get their chance to start another point streak with Thursday night’s home game against the St. Louis Blues, and a Saturday night showdown with the Maple Leafs as both teams vie for home ice advantage in a postseason that’s still more than two months away.