Anaheim 5, Boston 3
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
ANAHEIM – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Rickard Rakell‘s first multi-goal game in nearly 10 weeks enabled the Anaheim Ducks to defeat the NHL’s hottest team. Rakell’s second goal with 2:34 to play broke a tie and led the Ducks to a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night at the Honda Center.
Richard Rakell (67)
The Swedish center had not scored more than one goal in a game since Dec. 17, when he scored twice in a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. In eight of his past nine appearances, Rakell failed to register a point. Meanwhile, Anaheim collected just five goals in its previous four games.
“We had a tough time the last couple of games to get something going,” Rakell said. “We’ve been creating chances, but we haven’t been able to score. Scoring in some different ways tonight can help us going forward.”
Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Ducks, who joined the Edmonton Oilers in a tie for second place in the Pacific Division. Both teams are three points behind the first-place San Jose Sharks.
“The five was a nice number, but the three was a better number,” said Anaheim assistant coach Paul MacLean, who was substituting for ill head coach Randy Carlyle.
“We feel our defensive game was a real big reason why we ended up winning,” MacLean said. “I think we had 20 blocked shots, which is a significant number for us. It shows a commitment to playing defense. We did a good job of moving our feet to defend and getting in shooting lanes.”
Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry each added two assists for Anaheim (32-20-10). Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped 26 shots in his first appearance since allowing three goals on the first four shots he faced Monday night in a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.
“He was probably the main reason we won tonight,” Rakell said about Bernier. “On two or three opportunities, they basically had an open net and he was able to stop it.”
Brandon Carlo, Zdeno Chara and Frank Vatrano scored for the Bruins, who saw their longest winning streak of the season end at four games. Boston (30-24-6) also received two assists from David Backes and 20 saves from goalie Tuukka Rask.
The defeat was the first for Boston since interim coach Bruce Cassidy took over for the fired Claude Julien on Feb. 7. The Bruins were 4-0-0 under Cassidy before Wednesday.
“We definitely feel we could’ve won that game if we put the puck in the back of the net when we needed to,” Carlo said. “There were probably four or five good scoring chances we had that didn’t go in the back of the net.”
Rakell broke a 3-3 tie with his team-leading 24th goal. Kevin Bieksa’s shot from the top of the slot deflected off Perry’s left skate at the left post and slid across the crease to Rakell, who tapped it inside the right post.
“It was at least a foot offside,” said Cassidy, who could not request a video review after losing a challenge in the second period, when officials disallowed a power-play goal by Boston’s David Pastrnak because of goaltender interference.
Vatrano tied the score with 8:25 to play. David Krejci’s pass from the right boards in the neutral zone freed Vatrano for a breakaway. Vatrano beat Manson and scored his ninth goal on a wrist shot.
Manson gave Anaheim a 3-2 lead at 13:12 of the second period. Ritchie skated behind the net and tried to stuff the puck inside the left post. Rask used his stick to block Ritchie’s shot, but Manson converted the rebound for his second goal in three games.
Carlo’s fifth goal of the season gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 9:02 into the game. Backes secured a puck that skipped off Perry’s skate, and he passed to Carlo, who fired a slap shot from the blue line inside the left post.
Kase tied the score 2:03 into the second period. After receiving Ritchie’s return pass on a give-and-go, Kase deposited a wrist shot off Rask’s glove for his fifth of the season.
Pastrnak’s potential power-play goal at 5:38 of the middle period would have put Boston ahead but officials ruled that Brad Marchand committed goaltender interference.
“My challenging earlier clearly came back to haunt us,” Cassidy said. “I felt that ‘Marsh’ was out of the way from the goaltender when the puck went in the net. He was outside the blue paint. But they didn’t feel the same way, so I lost the opportunity for later on. Clearly, I could’ve used (the challenge).”
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead at 6:55, when Chara scored his sixth on a slap shot from the blue line. Rakell responded 47 seconds later by scoring in unusual fashion.
Rask used his right leg to stop Rakell’s wrist shot. But the puck squirted free and as the goalie turned to look over his left shoulder, Rask kicked the puck into the net with his left skate.
“I squeezed as hard as I could and felt it kind of leak through,” Rask said. “So as I started turning, I obviously kicked it in.”
Cogliano’s empty-net goal with 49 seconds left ended the scoring.
NOTES: Former Bruin Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player, dropped the puck in a pregame ceremony. O’Ree made his debut with the Boston Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958. … Boston scratched D John-Michael Liles, D Joe Morrow and C Tim Schaller. … Bruins D Zdeno Chara played his 798th game for the club to move past P.J. Axelsson for the most in team history by any player born outside North America. … Anaheim scratched RW Jared Boll, G John Gibson (lower body) and D Brandon Montour. Gibson is day-to-day. … Ducks C Antoine Vermette will meet NHL officials in New York for a hearing on his 10-game suspension Thursday. Vermette, who appealed the league’s decision, received the punishment for slashing linesman Shandor Alphonso’s legs in a Feb. 14 game. … The Ducks recalled G Jhonas Enroth and LW Nicolas Kerdiles from AHL San Diego. Kerdiles, Anaheim’s first draft choice raised in Orange County, Calif. to make the club, finished a plus-1 on Wednesday in his NHL debut.