By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – One of the few weaknesses for the Ducks this season looked stronger than ever as Anaheim downed the Bruins 5-2 in front of a standing-room only crowd of 17,238 at Honda Center.
Anaheim’s once-struggling power play went a perfect 3-for-3 as the Ducks rolled to an eighth straight victory at home and won their 14th in the last 15. Anaheim moved back into the top spot in the NHL with the win and are just the fifth team in 40 NHL seasons to record points in each of their first 20+ home games of a season (18-0-2).
The Ducks were in a 1-for-34 drought on the power play before Corey Perry scored a dramatic goal with just 0.6 seconds left in overtime two nights ago in a win over Vancouver. That seemed to carry over to tonight, as Perry, Mathieu Perreault and Nick Bonino each scored on the man advantage to propel Anaheim.
"Even though the numbers aren’t there, we’re doing a lot of good things and getting a lot of good chances," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "So, just persevere and keep doing what you’re doing. They did, and they finally went in."
Perreault put the game away with Anaheim's fifth goal, taking in a feed from Teemu Selanne before slinging the puck through off the inside of the right post. Earlier, Bonino gave the Ducks some breathing room when they were briefly clinging to a one-goal lead.
Boston got within a goal 7:19 into the third, as the Ducks survived a flurry around their net, until the puck came out to Dougie Hamilton, who fired through a crowd and past Jonas Hiller (30 saves).
The Bruins threatened to tie it after after Saku Koivu was called for high sticking with about eight minutes left in the game. But the Ducks got a huge break when Brad Marchand was called for interference after kicking the stick away from Daniel Winnik, who was trying to pick it up off the ice. The ensuing 4-on-4 turned into a short power play for Anaheim, which took quick advantage as Ryan Getzlaf fed Bonino, who beat goalie Tuukka Rask with a wrister from the right wing.
The Ducks scored five goals (or more) for the 13th time this season and have 20 goals in their last four games (all home wins). They also avenged an overtime loss in Boston on Halloween night in knocking off the Eastern Conference's second-best team.
"It shows we can play with anybody," Perreault said. "Even when we play the better teams in the league, we’re able to stand up and win games. It feels like we find ways to win games no matter what."
The Ducks were lucky to escape the first period in a scoreless tie, after getting outshot 16-3 and forcing Hiller to save their bacon on a number of occasions. "Sometimes it’s easier to get a lot of shots, so you feel right in the game," Hiller said. "It definitely felt like I made a couple good saves. You definitely don’t want to give up the first goal. I wasn’t too happy with the last two games. My first periods seemed a little slow, so I wanted to make sure I played well in the first tonight. It worked out pretty well."
But as they have done so frequently, they came out firing in the second period, getting goals from Perreault and Perry on the power play and Andrew Cogliano shorthanded.
Perreault connected on the man advantage 5:53 into the period, as Selanne made a nice feed from the corner that Perreault one-timed home.
Less than three minutes later, a Bonino shot bounced hard off Rask, and Perry scooped up the rebound and dumped it into the open net.
Cogliano made it 3-0 on the penalty kill when he knocked down the puck in the Boston end and it squirted to Winnik, who gave it back to Cogliano for the wrister.
Boston got one back on the rush, after officials missed a Gregory Campbell elbow to Perreault’s face, and Daniel Paille backhanded the puck under Hiller, who had been outstanding to that point. It was the 12th straight win for Hiller, extending his franchise record and career high. The last NHL goaltender to win 12 consecutive games in a single season was Martin Brodeur of New Jersey, who won 12 straight from Oct. 23 – Nov. 20, 1997
"What he showed was he kept us in the game, as he did last game in the first period," Boudreau said. "He’s 12-0 during this and it’s incredible goaltending when you think of the consistency. Usually, you can play a lot of good games in a row, and then have a clunker, but he hasn’t had a clunker. It’s a real testament to him."
After a perfect 4-0 homestand, the Ducks head to Nashville on Thursday and Phoenix on Saturday.
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