Two games, two losses, and the Ducks were not happy with their play. They quickly pulled it together in Boston and had a solid team effort for a 3-0 shut out of the Bruins.
For once, the rest of the country got to watch, as the game was broadcast on Versus, the one and only time this season. Thank goodness the Ducks did not embarrass themselves with another so-so effort.
Coach Randy Carlyle got the spark he needed from the second line by moving Brandon McMillan alongside Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. McMillan put the Ducks on the board at 5:57 of the first period, finishing off a great pass from Luca Sbisa at the blue line. The Bruins left McMillan open and he had no trouble putting the puck in the net behind Tim Thomas.
The Ducks continue to play well in the second period. Although Selanne missed his own rebound, Lubomir Visnovsky came in and deposited another goal at 4:45.
The killer for the Bruins was giving up a short handed goal. With Ryan Getzlaf in the penalty box for tripping, the Ducks were allowed several good chances in the Bruins end. McMillan had a good opportunity which was followed up by Corey Perry taking a couple of shots at the puck, eventually putting it underneath Thomas and into the goal at 15:05.
3-0 Ducks and things were looking pretty good for a team that had lost their previous two.
The Bruins threw everything they had at Hiller, landing 45 shots on goal, but nothing went in. Another 23 attempts were blocked by the Ducks, who were working as a cohesive team the entire evening.
“If we play like that every single game, with guys out there blocking shots, we’ve got a good chance to win,” said Hiller after the game.
The important thing was not the shutout, but the two points for the team. Anaheim has played 37 games, the most of any team in the NHL. The wide discrepancy in games played leaves the Ducks in need for all the points they can get because other teams can and will play catch up.
Tomorrow the Ducks will try to take their momentum with them to Buffalo to play the Sabres and end the first part of their seven game road trip on a high note. A Christmas break will be followed with two more games on the road before coming home on December 31 to have their midway point game #41 at the Honda Center.
In other notes: Toni Lydman was hit in the mouth with a deflected puck in the first period. Lydman returned later in the game with quite a few stitches and still managed over 21 minutes of ice time. Andreas Lilja played in his 500th NHL game.