Ducks-Bruins Preview

The Boston Bruins figured out how to avoid another slow start

their last time out, but problems later in the game nearly

prevented them from snapping a three-game losing streak.

Tim Thomas’ excellence hasn’t stopped at any point.

The Anaheim Ducks will likely have to solve the NHL’s hottest

goaltender if they hope to reverse their road woes as they continue

a seven-game trip Monday night in Boston.

Bruins coach Claude Julien had been troubled by his team’s poor

first periods lately, especially in a 4-3 loss at Montreal on

Thursday night when Boston was outshot 17-9 and outscored 3-1 in

the first 20 minutes.

Boston is 12-0-0 when leading after the first period – the only

team in the NHL unbeaten in that scenario.

While the Bruins (17-10-4) charged out to a 3-0 lead in the

first Saturday against Washington, they struggled later before

hanging on for a 3-2 win.

“Sometimes it’s a bad start and a good second and third,” Julien

told the Bruins’ official website. “(Saturday) it was a bad third

and a good first and second. So we got to put three solid periods

together here sooner than later.”

The one constant has been Thomas, who was especially spectacular

in the third period while the desperate Capitals outshot Boston


The NHL leader in goals-against average (1.65) and save

percentage (.944), Thomas made 39 saves to improve to 15-3-3,

including a point-blank denial of Alex Ovechkin in the closing


“It certainly saved us. There’s no doubt about that,” Julien

said. “It’s unfortunate. … We were watching more than we were


The Bruins still improved to 6-1-2 in their last nine home

games, outscoring opponents 30-15 in that stretch. That may not

bode well for Anaheim, which looks to avoid its 40th loss in 60

road games since the start of last season.

The Ducks, though, won 6-1 on Oct. 8, 2009, the last time they

visited Boston, getting two goals each from Teemu Selanne and Corey

Perry against Thomas.

Anaheim (17-15-4) began its longest trip of this season with a

2-1 overtime win at Washington, but became one of two teams to lose

to the New York Islanders since the start of November on


Despite putting 45 shots on goal Saturday at Carolina, the Ducks

lost 4-2, falling victim to a hat trick in the first 22 minutes by

Eric Staal and a stellar goaltending performance by Cam Ward.

“We have to play that strong forecheck game, and we had it after

we got motivated,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “But we were down two

goals, and then we got one back, and we had numerous chances, but

just didn’t get it across the line.”

Ryan Getzlaf had both Anaheim goals, giving him five in his last

four games. Goals from Getzlaf usually equate to victories for the

Ducks, who are 8-2-1 when their captain scores.

Getzlaf scored one of two third-period goals in the last meeting

between these teams, helping the Ducks come from behind for a 4-3

home win Jan. 13.

Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller has won both of his starts against

Boston and is 4-1-0 with a 1.93 GAA in his last five starts