The Boston Bruins host the Anaheim Ducks in a Thursday night clash of two teams in the midst of a busy week.
On Tuesday, Boston ran into a rested Ottawa team and fell 7-5 despite David Pastrnak and captain Patrice Bergeron posting a goal and two assists apiece.
The game marked the second contest of a back-to-back and part of overlapping stretches of three in four nights for the Bruins.
“Everybody goes through that. You get caught on the wrong end of a back-to-back or three-in-four,” coach Jim Montgomery said. “I just liked the fact there was no stop. We never stopped fighting.”
Despite a lackluster defensive effort and tied for the worst start of goaltender Jeremy Swayman’s career (six goals allowed on 25 shots), Boston did fight despite falling behind by 3-0 and 6-3 deficits.
The Bruins are averaging a league-leading 5.33 goals per game after playing in the second-highest scoring game of the young NHL season.
“These kinds of games happen once in a while,” Pastrnak said. “It was our third game in four days. We kept it positive. We came back twice. … We were believing we could come back again.”
Defenseman Anton Stralman was cleared to play in Canada after working through visa issues. He made his Boston debut on Tuesday, but perhaps the day between games will allow him to return to the team at home.
In his 15th NHL season, Stralman was signed to a PTO before training camp. He now provides a much-needed body with the likes of Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo injured.
“(He’s a) seasoned vet who is going to manage the game and manage the puck really well and defend hard,” Montgomery said.
Since a season-opening overtime win over Seattle, the Ducks have gone into a three-game slide thus far in their five-game Eastern Conference road trip over the course of nine days.
They will also visit Detroit on Sunday.
A 2-0 lead after one period slipped away in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to New Jersey, the second of a back-to-back.
“I thought we got a healthy dose of what back-to-back games feel like in this league,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “As the game went on, I thought we made some tired mistakes. (The) puck didn’t go our way a couple of times. You’re going to get bad bounces in this league.”
Jakob Silfverberg scored his first two goals of the season in the first period, moving within four goals of tying Bobby Ryan for the seventh-highest career total in Ducks history. He has 143.
Previously under the weather, Silfverberg didn’t play in Monday’s 6-4 loss to the Rangers.
His return was a strong one.
“I felt … I was way more involved without the puck,” Silfverberg said. “I was trying to get the puck rather than just being out there. This is a game I can be proud of myself playing, if you want to put it that way.”
Earlier this week, Troy Terry became the first Duck ever to record six points through the first three games of a season. He was held off the scoresheet for the first time on Tuesday.
Experienced players like Silfverberg and Terry are crucial to helping Anaheim overcome this stretch.
“That’s part of your duty as a vet to help the others around you and calm the process down when you feel pushes like that,” Eakins said. “You’re going to get that in this league. That’s when you need to stay tight and work together.”
–Field Level Media