Everything had been falling into place for the Bruins’, a five-game win streak, and recent victories over Seattle, San Jose, and Los Angeles. All appearing to have Boston on the end of receiving some much-needed ‘puck luck.’ But, a trip to Anaheim on Tuesday to face the Ducks, proved to be a bit too much, as the Bruins got themselves into a deep hole, allowing three goals in the first period. The second game of a back-to-back series, and the fourth game in six nights…for Boston, it seemed to be a struggle beginning in the first period, giving up three goals in 11:20 minutes. Taking the 3-1 deficit (Mike Foligno goal #2) into the second period, the locals showed some resilience, when Brandon Carlo found the back of the net to cut the margin to one goal at 3-2. Boston began the third period with David Pastrnak quickly scoring his 29th goal of the season, less than two minutes into the period, to tie the game at 3-3. All the Ducks were beginning to fall in a row, until Charlie McAvoy was whistled off the ice on a hooking call with 46 seconds left in the regulation. Things were still looking doable for Boston with a 3on3 overtime seemingly coming up on the horizon. But the ‘hockey gods’ had other ideas, as Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras (former BU Terrier) was able to blast the game-winner past Bruin goalie Linus Ullmark with 21-plus seconds left to play in regulation. Bottom line: time to start a new win-streak.
Coach Bruce Cassidy summed up the loss with, “Just had some bad breakdowns, didn’t manage pucks and didn’t protect the front of our net,” all while admitting, that it looked like the Bs were going to get through it, even thought they weren’t at their best. Working his way through the tough first period, Ullmark was able to bounce back aster the three first period goals, playing strong in the following two periods, coming up with 18 of the 24 saves he made on the night. The remaining two games left on the current road trip includes stops in Vegas Thursday (tonight 9:00pm) to play the high-flying Golden Knights, and the final stop to face the bottom-feeding Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (7:00pm). A welcome return to TD Garden ice will begin on Monday, March 7 @ 7:00pm, to host the Los Angeles Kings, currently out of playoff position, but who will be seeking revenge for their 7-0 blasting from Boston a week ago, and then a rare two-day break before taking on the struggling Chicago Black Hawks on Thursday, March 10 @ 7:00pm.
A ‘good news’ note had Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman being named ‘National Hockey League Rookie of the Month’ for February. Swayman finished the month with a 5-1-1 record through seven appearances, ranking first in the league with a .960 save percentage and 1.13 goals against average (minimum two starts). The 6-foot-3, 195-pound goaltender posted two shutouts through February, including a 7-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on February 28 and 2-0 shutout of the Ottawa Senators on February 12. Swayman, an Anchorage, Alaska native has played in 24 games this season, posting a 13-7-3 record. His 1.95 goals against average is tied for first in the league, while his .929 save percentage is tied for fourth (minimum six starts). His three shutouts on the season rank sixth across the league. Swayman has played 34 career games with the Bruins since he was drafted by Boston in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft (111th overall) with a career record of 20-10-3, including a 1.82 goals against average and .934 save percentage.