The Bruins finally got the start they were seeking on Saturday when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Washington, but their usually strong showing in the third period was absent, as the Capitals stormed back with a 26-2 edge in shots in the final 20 minutes.
The Bruins hung on for the 3-2 win to snap a three-game losing streak, but the victory raised as many concerns as the previous losses with the way the third period unfolded.
Boston will try to straighten those issues out and turn in a complete 60-minute effort when the Bruins welcome Anaheim to the Garden on Monday.
"I think it was nice to get a good start," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after Saturday's game. "I think what happened [Saturday], that third period, it's been a little uncharacteristic of our team because for the most part in the third period, we normally play a decent period. … Hopefully we can learn from that and moving forward to the next game, hopefully we can bring those first two periods again and rectify that third."
When and Where
Boston Bruins (17-10-4, 38 points) vs. Anaheim Ducks (17-15-4, 38 points) Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. (VERSUS) TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 26 shots Boston allowed in the third on Saturday were the most shots against the Bruins in a period since the Rangers had 26 in the first period of a 6-3 win over Boston on March 27, 1971. The Bruins had just two shots in that period too.
The Ducks are familiar with being outshot themselves. In the first three games this season, they were outshot 43-21 (24-6 in the third) in a 4-0 loss to Detroit on Oct. 8, 49-37 (21-9 in third) in a 4-1 loss to Nashville on Oct. 10 and 53-14 (22-4 in second) in a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on Oct. 11.
Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf has 13 goals in 36 games this year, but five of them have come in the last five games, including the Duck's only two goals in a 4-2 loss at Carolina on Saturday. Getzlaf also has three goals in five career games against Boston.
Anaheim has allowed at least one power-play goal in each of its last eight games, allowing nine total in 34 chances in that span.
The Bruins didn't have a power play on Saturday, their first game without at least one chance on the man-advantage since last Feb. 7. They won that night as well, with a 3-0 victory at Montreal. There was just one power-play chance for either side on Saturday, with Washington failing to convert after a second-period high-sticking call on Brad Marchand.
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference scored his first goal in 100 regular-season goals on Saturday. It was his first score since a Feb. 22, 2009 game at Tampa Bay, a span of 116 games including playoffs. It was Ference's first goal on Garden ice since March 15, 2008. To show how long that's been, Ference is the only one of seven Bruins to collect a point in Boston's 3-2 overtime win over Philadelphia that night who remains with the team, as Chuck Kobasew, Marco Sturm, Phil Kessel, Dennis Wideman, Aaron Ward and P.J. Axelsson were the other Bruins to get on the scoresheet.
The Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday. Now they'll look to begin a new winning streak. They are just 8-5-3 at home this season, but they're 4-0-1 on Garden ice in December. Anaheim comes in having lost two straight on their current East Coast swing, falling 3-2 to an Islanders team that has just two wins in its last 23 games and 4-2 to Carolina. The Ducks are 6-9-3 overall on the road this season, but won 6-1 in their last visit to the Garden on Oct. 8, 2009.