Talking Points: Quiet night for Schaller vs. Ducks
Cam Fowler finished a strong night for the Ducks as an unheralded star in the win over the Bruins, and led all skaters with 26:05 of ice time while finishing with an assist and a plus-1 rating. Fowler also finished with three shot attempts and blocked a team-high five shots as Anaheim showed a lot of urgency protecting their net. Certainly some forwards made some nice individual plays for goals and Rickard Rakell was in the right place at the right time for the game-winner, but Fowler was a guy that really settled things down for the Ducks after those hectic shifts in the first period where the Bruins scored twice in 13 seconds.
Tim Schaller finished with a minus-3 rating and zero shots in 11:24 of ice time, and had one of those nights where you wonder if he can really sustain his game playing in a top-6 role alongside David Krejci. Both Schaller and Krejci finished with a minus-3 rating for the game, and the playmaking Czech center did at least have a power play goal to show for his efforts. It was kind of a quiet, nothing performance from Schaller, who now has the worst plus/minus on the Bruins with a minus-8 number for the season. The Bruins continue to look for permanent solutions on that second line, and even had David Backes back on right wing instead of David Pastrnak as things rolled on in the third period.
The Bruins had a 2-0 lead and had used some shock and awe to get there by dropping two goals on the Anaheim Ducks in a 13 second span in the first period. It was exactly the kind of start that the Bruins needed to have playing their third game in four days, and it looked briefly like they were going to build on the momentum from their road trip. But Randy Carlyle called a timeout after the two goals were scored, and the Bruins buckled following the timeout when a puck was knocked into the Boston net off David Krejci’s stick. That took all of the air out of Boston’s sails and keyed a Ducks surge that would see them outscore the Bruins by a 4-1 margin over the balance of the game.
David Backes brought his lunch bucket and hard hat with him to work, and finished with a pair of assists along with six hits in his 20:22 of ice time. Backes made a great play on the game-tying David Krejci power play goal where he corralled the rebound to a Torey Krug point shot, and then guided the puck to Krejci for the PP strike in the second period. Backes was tangling with Josh Manson for much of the night in and around the Boston and Anaheim nets, and was generally playing the tough game that’s required of him. It was also his drop pass to Zdeno Chara that set up the game’s first goal and got the Bruins off to such a hot start the first place. Backes felt like a good fit with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in the early going, but ended up back on David Krejci’s line by the end of the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
8 – the number of Bruins players that have played in their first NHL game this season, which ties the 2013-14 season and is two short of the 10 players that made their NHL debuts for the Black and Gold during the 2005-06 season. Matt Grzelcyk was the latest when he played in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, and then made his home debut at TD Garden on Thursday.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I think the guys tried for [the situation of] three tough games in four nights. I appreciated the effort guys gave in the third period to try and get ourselves back into it.” – Claude Julien, who liked the effort he saw by his tired B’s bunch to try and come back but fall short of even getting the overtime “loser point.”