GOLD STAR: A 39-save effort from Ducks goaltender John Gibson was one of the big difference-makers in the game. He made a sweet, spinning double-stack pad save on a Riley Nash bid in the second period, and then stoned Nash on a breakaway in the third period as well while infuriating the Bruins attackers. On the other hand, the Bruins didn’t consistently get traffic to the front of the Anaheim net and really settled for the perimeter for the most part, and that was a big factor in the season-high 41 shots on net for the Black and Gold. Still, the Bruins had some good chances when it was still a close game in the first couple of periods, and Gibson was up to the task in holding back the Boston offense.
BLACK EYE: The Bruins actually played a decent game all things considered, but a mental mistake for Zdeno Chara definitely hurt their cause in the second period. Chara was whistled on a delayed penalty call on a Corey Perry drive to the net, and then took a look at the official behind the net while play was still ongoing. Josh Manson took advantage of that split-second of distraction from the Bruins captain, and threw a centering pass off his skate that ricocheted past Tuukka Rask for Anaheim’s go-ahead goal. Chara finished a minus-3 at 25:33 of ice time in the loss, and the Bruins are going to be hard-pressed to win many games when their top defenseman is on the ice for that many goals against. The overall performance plus allowing himself to get distracted for Anaheim’s second goal were both big-time negative factors for Boston.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins outshot the Ducks by a 15-3 margin and dominated for nearly the entire period, but they still watched Anaheim score a pair of goals on the three shots. It was a couple of tough breaks for a Bruins team that really did play well over the course of the period, but that’s all small consolation for a team riding a four-game losing streak where it could get a lot worse before it gets better. The Bruins need better results when they actually play well, and that was the disheartening part of Wednesday night.
HONORABLE MENTION: Give Noel Acciari a ton of credit for suiting up under difficult circumstances and playing a great game. Acciari scored a rebound goal at the end of the third period, had a couple of shots on net in his 16 plus minutes of ice time and finished with a game-high 10 registered hits. The goal was Acciari’s first score of the season after beginning to generate his own offense at the end of last year. Acciari also blocked three shots and did everything you could hope for from an energy forward that’s just a couple of games removed from a badly broken finger. Acciari played with heart, emotion and energy. You’d expect nothing less from the ultra-competitive kid from Rhode Island.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the season-high number of losses in a row for the Bruins as they face an uphill climb on this road trip through California with tough match-ups waiting for them in Los Angeles and San Jose.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought our second period was excellent and we deserved better, but it didn’t work out for us.” – Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, on a middle 20 minutes where they outshot the Ducks 15-3 but were outscored by a 2-1 margin.
It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.
Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.
“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”
Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.
Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.
Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.
*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.
*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.
*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.
*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.
*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.
*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.