Bruins and Turco rain on Ducks
ANAHEIM, Calif. - It rained like mad in Southern California all day Sunday, not very California kind of weather, but the Bruins made the best of it all, pouring three goals down on the Ducks and waddling happily out of the Honda Center with a 3-2 victory to wrap up their three-game West Coast trip with a 2-1-0 record.
Zdeno Chara, Benoit Pouliot, and Brian Rolston connected for the goals, providing the Bruins with a second win in as many nights and further adding bedrock to their No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Back in action Tuesday night against the Lightning at the Garden, the Bruins have seven games remaining in the regular season and hope to secure the second or third seed in the East for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason.
Marty Turco recorded the win, his first for the Bruins, and it got a little hairy down the stretch when Lubomir Visnovsky cut Boston’s 3-1 lead down a notch with his sixth goal of the season.
“It’s a real treat to have these guys in front of me,’’ said Turco, crediting the tight all-around defense teammates played. “I’ve gone from jealousy, watching these guys, to sheer admiration playing behind them.’’
The night before in LA, after entering the third period in a 1-1 tie, the Bruins blew the game apart with quick strikes by Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly. Here, after entering the second period in a scoreless tie, they took a giant step forward when Chara and Pouliot connected only 1:22 apart for the 2-0 lead.
Chara, playing in his 1,001st game, scored at 4:37 on a play that had defenseman Francois Beauchemin thinking maybe it was time to enter the witness protection program.
Beauchemin first turned the puck over along the right wing wall in his own end, ultimately gifting the puck to Chara at the blue line. Standing on the stripe, the Trencin Tower of Power snapped off a wrister that goalie Jonas Hiller should have turned back with ease. But Beauchemin, probably hoping to make amends, jumped in front and tipped the shot with the blade of his stick, just enough to throw Hiller off track and allow the puck into the net. Bruins, 1-0.
Boston took the 2-0 lead off the rush, Pouliot snapping in a wrister from the top of the left wing circle off a short dish from Kelly. Rolston added the second assist, giving him his 10th point in a six-game scoring streak. The Pouliot-Kelly-Rolston combo has become both an effective and productive trio, one that coach Claude Julien will find hard to break up when the playoffs arrive in a couple of weeks.
“The way those guys have been going,’’ said Julien, “it’s pretty hard to break up a line that keeps scoring for you.’’
Down by two goals, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau called time out and brought his charges together for a benchside chat. Knowing Boudreau’s penchant for salty language it was no doubt a spirited dissertation, the coach noting that there hadn’t been enough rubber thrown the way of Turco, making only his second start for the Bruins since signing as a free agent out of Austria.
The Ducks picked up the tempo after the Boudreau chat and it was Teemu Selanne, the ol’ Finnish Flash, who cut the lead to 2-1 at 9:11. Positioning for space with Chara at the top of Turco’s crease with the Ducks on a power play, Selanne expertly tipped a Cam Fowler slapper from the top of the left circle.
Selanne, playing in his 1,335th game en route to the Hall of Fame, registered his 661st career goal with that strike.
He has 82 goals over the last three seasons and still might play again next year. He’s not the kid who debuted with 76 goals with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93, but he still knows how to put the puck in the net.
“Can’t tell you I know his secret,’’ said former Ducks teammate Shawn Thornton. “If I knew it, I might be able to score three or four times a year. All I know is that he’s a great guy, and he has an incredible hockey IQ for scoring.’’
The Ducks thought they had pulled into a 2-2 tie at 7:22 of the third period when Matt Beleskey dropped to a knee in the slot and fired a forehander past Turco.
But the goal was wiped off the board when the referees ruled that Andrew Cogliano, about 18 inches into the blue paint when the goal went over the line, interfered with Turco.
Boudreau went into a tizzy over the ruling, berating the officiating crew for a number of shifts.
“That’s the right call,’’ Julien said. “That’s the rule. He was right in the crease and impeded the goalie’s ability to move up on the shot.’’
Roughly nine minutes later, at 13:06, Rolston salted away the win with a one-time bomb from the right faceoff dot, again off the rush.
Kelly carried the puck down the slot, tossed right, and Rolston put the hammer down, Hiller without a prayer of stopping it and even losing his big paddle in the attempt.
“I had no question in my mind that I could still produce in this league,’’ said Rolston, now 3-8-11 over the last six games. “I’m not over the hill yet.’’