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Ducks 4, Bruins 3

Ducks exhibit pluck

Bruins lose way in third period

Patrice Bergeron got a chance to play in Fenway Park this month, and in February he’ll be on an even bigger stage: the Olympics. Patrice Bergeron got a chance to play in Fenway Park this month, and in February he’ll be on an even bigger stage: the Olympics. (Elsa/Getty Images)
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / January 14, 2010

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ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Bruins kicked off their three-game California tour last night at the Honda Center with lots of fight (first NHL scrap for Adam McQuaid, followed up by a Byron Bitz tangle). Lots of character. Lots of chances.

For all that, the Bruins came away from Anaheim with nothing.

In the third period, ahead by one goal, the Bruins couldn’t do much to stop an Anaheim rally. Ryan Getzlaf and Steve Eminger beat Tuukka Rask with third-period goals to give the Ducks a 4-3 victory.

“We saw some character, but it’s not enough,’’ Steve Begin said. “Same story every night. It’s a 60-minute game. As soon as we make mistakes, it ends up being a goal against us. We have to be sharper and smarter and keep it simple. That’s all it is. Every time we lose, we repeat ourselves. But it’s the same story every time we lose a game. It’s not going to be an easy road trip. We have to be sharp in the next two games. Take the good things we did tonight and bring them to the next game.’’

What made last night’s setback especially irksome was how the Bruins, facing a hot team in the Ducks (now winners of five straight), had plenty of chances to start the trip with a two-point decision. After falling behind by a goal in the first, the Bruins rallied for two strikes on red-hot netminder Jonas Hiller in the second period. And even when the Ducks tied the score in the second, the Bruins brushed off the rally by adding another score to take a 3-2 lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes.

“The effort was there tonight,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “That’s what’s frustrating. The mistakes ended up costing us at the end. At the other end, we really challenged them. We had some great opportunities there at the end - crossbar and chances late. Somehow they just wouldn’t go in. It’s probably a little bit frustrating. But you hope that’s a good sign. That’s what we need, a little bit of anger and guys wanting to get mad and doing something about it. If we give the same kind of effort and cut down on the mistakes, I think we’ll be on the right track.’’

The Ducks tied the score in the third period when Zdeno Chara made an ill-timed decision to head to the bench just as James Wisniewski was carrying the puck through the neutral zone. Matt Hunwick scrambled over the boards and set up in the defensive zone. But Getzlaf spotted a seam between Hunwick and Derek Morris, and Wisniewski took advantage of the loose gap to find his center in open space. As soon as Getzlaf took Wisniewski’s pass, he released a shot that beat Rask at 1:59 of the third.

Anaheim scored the game-winning goal after Bobby Ryan fired a fast-moving slap shot on goal. Rask flashed out his blocker to stop Ryan’s shot. But the puck hopped into the air and over Rask, landing in the crease at the far post. Before the Bruins could clear the puck, Eminger, pinching in as the backdoor defenseman, tapped a shot over the goal line at 8:07 for the deciding strike.

“He took a good shot and I made the save,’’ Rask said. “It had weird spin on it. It hit my blocker and bounced over my shoulder. The backdoor D pinched in and tapped it in there.’’

A disappointing third period wiped out a high-flying Black-and-Gold second. At 4:00 of the middle frame, the Bruins tied it at 1-1. David Krejci wheeled around the net and spotted Chara at the point. Chara walked the puck off the wall, and with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder setting screens in front, the captain cranked a slap shot through Hiller.

Just over three minutes later, the Bruins took the lead. Mark Recchi, serving as the No. 2 center, stickhandled down the right wing, then spotted Hunwick jumping up into the high slot. Recchi, with some touch that would make Marc Savard proud, flipped a backhand pass to Hunwick’s blade. The defenseman winged a wrist shot past Hiller at 7:08.

The Ducks made it a 2-2 game at 11:47 of the second. After Rask failed to settle a hard dump-in, old friend Petteri Nokelainen crashed the net and created havoc in the crease. As Rask and Begin engaged Nokelainen, Matt Beleskey sneaked in and poked the loose puck into the goal at 11:47.

The Bruins regained the lead at 13:49 of the second. Miroslav Satan won an offensive-zone puck battle against Ryan Whitney and sent a pass to Recchi. The 41-year-old floated a pass to the slot, where Marco Sturm tipped the puck over Hiller to make it a 3-2 game.

“If we play like that every night, the results are going to be favorable for us on most nights,’’ said Recchi (a Savvy-like two assists). “We won’t have the inconsistencies that we have. As disappointing as this is, I think guys can feel good about ourselves. Now we have to go do the same thing tomorrow night and try and get good results. If we do play that way, the results will eventually come.’’

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com.

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