Strong 'Bones': Bonino's Return to Form Pays Off in Game 1

Wednesday, 05.1.2013 / 1:59 PM PT / News
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Strong \'Bones\': Bonino\'s Return to Form Pays Off in Game 1
“I get a lot of guys messing with me for this, but every goal I score I celebrate like I’ve never scored before. I honestly just get so happy. I didn’t really know where to go. I just kind of skated as fast as I could somewhere, and ended up near the glass. I like that corner, apparently.”
By Adam Brady
AnaheimDucks.com

Last night, about an hour before the puck drop of Game 1 of the Ducks’ opening round series with Detroit, Nick Bonino emerged into the hallway outside the Anaheim locker room. He was thumbing through the game notes left for media at a table against the wall, when a security guard standing nearby quietly said, “Good to have you back, Nick.”

“Thanks,” Bonino responded. “Good to be back.”

That’s a sentiment shared by both Bonino and the rest of the Ducks, after the 25-year-old center missed nearly a month (20 games) from mid-March to mid-April with a lower body injury. After an extensive rehab, he came back to play the final four games of the regular season, and his presence was felt almost immediately at both ends of the rink.

"He does a lot of things that people won't recognize," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He was as good a defensive player that we had. For a forward, he blocks shots. He'll kill penalties. Before he went out, our power play was 31 percent. Since? You know the numbers."

Coincidence or not, the Ducks scored a power play goal in each of those final four regular season games, and Bonino (whom players affectionately call "Bones") had three points combined. Last night, the Ducks converted twice on the man advantage, the first coming on a Bonino tip-in midway through the first period that elicited a deafening roar from the sellout crowd.

“The first NHL goal is cool, and this is kind of a whole different animal,” Bonino said in much calmer circumstances following the Ducks’ practice this afternoon. “It was fun to get the lead early, and to do it in front of a packed house like that is something I’ll always remember.”

Bonino remained his usual soft-spoken self in front of the dozen or so reporters in a large room at The Rinks - Anaheim Ice, but suddenly became much more animated when asked about his noticeably passionate celebration of that goal.

“I get a lot of guys messing with me for this, but every goal I score I celebrate like I’ve never scored before,” Bonino said with a smile. “I honestly just get so happy, and I guess the playoffs sort of amps it up a bit. I didn’t really know where to go. I just kind of skated as fast as I could somewhere, and ended up near the glass. I like that corner, apparently. I’ve done that a couple times this year.”

Indeed, watch the replay of another highlight of Bonino’s season – the goal that gave him a hat trick February 2 against the Kings – and you’ll see him rejoicing in that very same corner. Of course, last night’s goal took on a much more significant meaning, considering it gave the Ducks an important 1-0 lead in the series.

“It was awesome,” Bonino said of the atmosphere in Honda Center for Game 1. “That’s what you hope for in the playoffs, and it was amazing. I grew up watching the Red Wings playoff games, and I’m sure that building will be insane too. Everywhere you go, it’s going to be a good atmosphere. The players are excited, and you’re not going to find guys without energy and not pumped up.”

“That’s what you hope for in the playoffs, and it was amazing. I grew up watching the Red Wings playoff games, and I’m sure that building will be insane too. Everywhere you go, it’s going to be a good atmosphere. The players are excited and you’re not going to find guys without energy and not pumped up.”

Playoffs or no playoffs, Bonino is just happy to be on the ice after suffering an injury that he knew from the outset would cost him 4 to 6 weeks of a so-far successful Ducks season. “It was really frustrating,” he said. “But knowing the whole time that we would be in the playoffs made it a lot easier. If it was a situation where you’re coming back and you only had a few games before a long offseason, it would have been more frustrating. But I knew I had a goal in mind, and that was playoffs.

“I did a great rehab, and focused on getting myself ready to play. We had said anywhere from 6 to 8 or even 6 to 10 weeks. It was a pretty quick recovery and it feels good to have made it.”

Nothing could have accentuated that recovery more than last night’s goal, and Bonino was asked if he had the souvenir to commemorate it forever.

“One of my buddies asked me if you keep the first playoff [goal] puck,” he said. “I don’t know if you get it or not, but I’m sure it’s there somewhere.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 15 2 17 7 19
C. Perry 15 9 8 7 17
J. Silfverberg 15 4 13 5 17
R. Kesler 15 6 6 1 12
S. Vatanen 15 3 8 5 11
P. Maroon 15 7 3 5 10
A. Cogliano 15 3 6 10 9
C. Fowler 15 2 7 7 9
H. Lindholm 15 2 7 1 9
M. Beleskey 15 7 1 -4 8
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 11 4 3 .919 2.18

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