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Ducks 5, Bruins 3

With Tuukka Rask struggling, Bruins can’t hold off Ducks

Tuukka Rask wipes his face during a break in the action Monday night at TD Garden.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Watching his own play on video, Tuukka Rask sees a goalie that’s too deep in his crease, giving away too much net to shooters. He’s not tracking the puck well. He’s shaky when handling it.

“A lot of things,” Rask said.

Those issues snowballed on him in a 5-3 loss on Monday. The Bruins and Ducks played a fairly even game, but one team had a net advantage.

Rask, starting back-to-back games for the first time this year, was hardly sharp in allowing five goals on 27 shots. At the other end, John Gibson (three goals on 26 shots) was better, cleaner, more efficient.


The loss wasn’t all on Rask. The Bruins (24-13-2) were down by two goals after another slow start.

“Clearly we need to be better,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “A little more on our toes. I can’t sit here and say exactly ‘why’ today. Teams are coming in here ready to play.”

Boston had its issues with turnovers, penalties, and defensive coverage.

“All in all, not good enough,” Cassidy said. “Chased the game for a number of reasons tonight.”

But their netminder was beaten on a handful of stoppable shots.

“He’s not where he needs to be,” Cassidy said. “I think that’s evident. … He’s got to sort through it. Certainly needed a few more saves to get the result tonight.”

Linus Ullmark will start Wednesday’s game in Colorado, opening a three-game road trip against the powerful Avalanche.

“The only way you can do it is by playing,” Rask said. “We’re midway through the season. We don’t have the luxury of throwing games away, of putting me in there and trying to figure it out. I need to be sharp every time I go out there.”

The Ducks (21-16-7), second in the Pacific Division, inflated their advantage to three goals at 10:58 of the third, when journeyman defenseman Greg Pateryn walked in and hammered a slapper past Rask’s ear.


That was some four minutes after Troy Terry, Anaheim’s leading scorer (23-14—37 in 39 games), fired through Charlie McAvoy’s legs and past Rask’s blocker at 6:12.

Tukka Rask couldn't stop this third-period shot from Anaheim's Troy Terry Monday night at TD Garden.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Bruins have made no secret that Rask is in need of more work before he’s at his best. His July hip surgery left him off skates until November. Monday was his fourth game of the season. He had no tune-up work in the AHL, and since he is on a one-way contract, that option is no longer likely.

He may find his game. But his struggles were evident when he let a breakaway misfire from Isac Lundestrom trickle through his pads at 1:28 of the second. Rask was unable to stop the slow-moving puck with his stick.

“Shouldn’t happen,” he said. “My stick positioning wasn’t there. Just a terrible goal.”

Contrast that with a stop Gibson made minutes earlier. Every highlight reel produced from Monday’s game footage will show Gibson denying the league’s hottest goal-scorer, swatting away David Pastrnak’s attempt at a five-hole tuck with his blade.

Gibson also denied third-period slot one-timers from Erik Haula, Patrice Bergeron, and Pastrnak.

Haula made it 5-3 with 3:32 left, when a pinching Mike Reilly made a slick behind-the-back feed from the left corner. The Bruins got no closer when Rask left for an extra skater with three minutes to go.

Good news on Rask: In the first period, he turned back Sam Carrick’s point-blank shot with his right pad. That move, on that side of his body, was one Rask couldn’t make last year. The Bruins needed a save there, and got it. He also opened the third with a penalty-kill stop on a Trevor Zegras one-timer and stuffed Maxime Comtois in front on a redirect.


“I think you’re a proud player, you’re trying to set your expectations high, but the reality sometimes doesn’t match it,” Rask said, speaking about himself. “Obviously I haven’t been good enough.”

Though the Bruins found soft spots in the Ducks’ man-to-man defense, the visitors blocked 23 shots (the Bruins: three). Ex-BU Terrier Kevin Shattenkirk made a spectacular break-up of a sure goal, Pastrnak across to Taylor Hall in the third period.

Taylor Hall beats Anaheim goaltender John Gibson in the second period Monday night at TD Garden.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Bruins weren’t great in the first period, just as in Saturday’s win over Winnipeg. They allowed the opening goal, took two penalties, didn’t have their skating legs, and were outshot, 11-5.

At 9:09 of the first, Oskar Steen was given a five-minute major for boarding Nicolas Deslauriers. It was a dangerous push against the opponent’s numbers. Deslauriers needed attention. But referee Frederick L’Ecuyer overturned the call, changing it to a minor.

Anaheim made them pay. Ryan Getzlaf, the 36-year-old captain, teed one up from atop the right circle. Derek Grant tipped it past Rask.

After Lundestrom made it 2-0 with that shorthanded changeup, Pastrnak got one back. He slipped from Trevor Zegras’s check to one-time a Tomas Nosek feed at 7:47. He has his sixth consecutive 20-goal season, and 12 goals in January (12-3—15 in 13 games). It’s his most productive month since early 2019, when he scored 12 in both October and November.


David Pastrnak beats Anaheim goalie John Gibson in the second period of Monday's game.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Getzlaf made it 3-1 at 11:04, battling through Pastrnak on the left side and ripping a shot through a Brandon Carlo screen and over Rask’s blocker-side shoulder.

Another two-goal mountain to climb. It was nearly three, but Zegras missed an open net on the rush, after playing give-and-go with Jamie Drysdale.

The power play answered after Steen, fighting for a loose puck atop the crease, drew a hook from Josh Mahura. Marchand rolled off the right wall and went back-post to Hall, who used his strength to hold off Shattenkirk and make it 3-2 at 15:52.

The comeback died quickly in the third, leaving Rask with more video to scout.

“Not satisfied, obviously,” he said. “You can’t let in one or two bad goals a game.”

Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.