ANAHEIM — How does the 30th-ranked team in the NHL stand a chance against the No. 1?
“We have to play a perfect game,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said hours before the Ducks hit the ice against Boston on Sunday.
What turned out was that the only player close to perfection at the Honda Center happened to be Bruins forward David Pastrnak, whose hat-trick and assist led Boston to a 7-1 win over the Ducks. The Bruins (32-4-4) extended their points streak to 14 games (11-0-3).
Pastrank opened up a tight game with two goals in a 17-span in the second period, extending a 2-1 lead to a 4-1 lead. With Ducks forward Ryan Strome in the box for a trip, Pastrnak beat Ducks goalie John Gibson with a shot from the left circle at 11:56 and completed the hat-trick with a breakaway at 12:13. The hats hit the ice from Bruins fans in the arena, a merry and noisy squad. “It seemed like a home game for them,” said Ducks forward Adam Henrique.
Consistency, or lack thereof, has been a constant problem for the Ducks (12-25-4). They have won three times in a row this season but failed to get a three-game winning streak in the first half.
“We didn’t show up,” said striker Max Comtois. “We didn’t play well. We failed Gibby and this is the bottom line. Consistency has been our theme all year and it doesn’t seem to have stopped.”
He didn’t believe in the idea that it took a perfect game, or nearly so, to beat the Bruins.
“Who did we beat this year? I think Dallas, New York can play with those teams,” Comtois said.
But the homestand has reflected the tremendous ups and downs of the Ducks season. Strong performances against Vegas and Dallas and then clunkers against Nashville and Philadelphia.
“It shows a number of things,” said Ducks coach Dallas Eakins. “The mistakes we made were big. After two periods it’s 4-1 and we made maybe five mistakes in that period and three of them ended up in our net.
“We must not make these mistakes. You can not. We all put our team, our goalkeeper, in a difficult situation. The other thing I think is that it really shows that they are the most elite team in our league. They are number 1 by far. Nobody is even on their heels to challenge them for first place in the league.”
It’s been quite a 24-hour period for Pastrnak – with five goals in that span as he scored twice against the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday night. The five goals in two games over the weekend brought his season total to 32, one behind league leader Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.
“He (Pastrnak) is up there, but the guys over there have a high standard,” Henrique said. “
To say Pastrnak excels against the Ducks is an understatement. He scored a career-high four goals against the Ducks on October 14, 2019 in Boston, a 4-2 win for the Bruins. He has 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 14 career games against the Ducks.
The lone Ducks goal came from Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, who finished a nice passing game at 16:55 of the first period, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 2-1. Boston was up 2-0 within the first 10 minutes of the game – Pastrnak at 3:49 and David Krejci at 9:46.
“If that puck is on his stick, it’s dangerous,” Eakins said of Pastrnak. “Obviously, he and McDavid are two completely different players. You look at his first goal where we came up with him, the puck was reset and he was literally a meter away and it was on his stick and it was gone. It’s on the web. You just have to stick to these guys like Velcro.”
It was the first game at the Honda Center for Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who joined Boston in March from the Ducks. During one of the first-half TV breaks, there was a recognition video and a hearty round of applause for Lindholm, who played the first 582 games of his NHL career with the Ducks.
He admitted the day was a little “strange” when he arrived at the rink, adding: “I got lost walking into the locker room. I didn’t even know where to go. So it was a different feeling but happy with the two points and the process.”
Lindholm punctuated the opportunity with his fifth goal of the season in the 6-1 win, scoring from a tight angle at 11:26 of the third.
“In the third, we just screwed our brains out,” Eakins said.
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/08/david-pastrnak-leads-bruins-past-ducks/ David Pastrnak leads Bruins past Ducks – Orange County Register