The fans wanted goals, but it looked like they would only get ghouls at TD Garden as the Boston Bruins faced off against the Anaheim Ducks on Halloween, 2013. Having lost the night before to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Bruins were on game two in as many nights. The Boston faithful, who are known to have a couple or four superstitions were already wary when they saw the team come out for warm-ups in their third jerseys. However, they were all sporting Red Sox World Series Champions hats in honor of the “worst to first” climb that had culminated in the Red Sox winning the series at Fenway the night before.
The announcement of the recall of Ryan Spooner from the Providence Bruins had Twitter and the media abuzz and even prompted a quip from the mostly all business Bruins’ head coach, Claude Julien, when asked if he to play Spooner.
"Do you plan to play Spooner?" A sarcastic Julien jokingly responds: "No, I just wanted him to have popcorn and hot dogs in the stands" ^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 31, 2013
Fans had arrived in a myriad of costumes including representations of Rene Rancourt, Jesus, a Hanson Brother (can’t have a Halloween without folks dressing like Slap Shot’s finest) to more creative approaches that included Instagram selfies and a Red Sox “Duck Boat.” But after the drop of the first puck the fans were all business, and, to their horror, it seemed that the Bruins were suffering Red Sox celebration hangovers.
Tweets got uglier as the first period had less than five minutes and the Bruins hadn’t even registered a shot on the Ducks’ Jonas Hiller. To make the situation worse, the Ducks had scored on a Carl Soderberg turnover before the clock counted down the first two minutes.
To say the fans were displeased was an understatement. At the end of the first period, down one goal and with only one shot on goal for the Bruins, it was safe to say that no amount of Halloween candy could raise the spirits of much of the crowd at TD Garden, though those in costumes gave it a good try.
As the second period progressed, things weren’t looking to be much improved and the only major cheering from the crowd came when scenes from the World Series win were displayed on the jumbotron. Cue Soderberg to get the crowd to a happy place when he tied the game with 7:15 remaining. Breathing began again–even among the zombies who were present–and the ice felt a little more level. With that marker, Soderberg celebrated his first NHL goal and Spooner earned his first NHL point with an assist.
Despite the massive list of players who were on the injured reserve list, the Ducks were really trying to make it a nightmare on Causeway Street. It appeared they had when center Mathieu Perreault potted one with just 21 seconds left in the second period. It began to seem like the Bruins wouldn’t be able to resurrect the game–at least as far as the fans were concerned, despite there still being a full 20 minutes to play. Of course, by this point the Bruins had been rotating five defenseman for much of the second after Johnny Boychuk got hurt early in the period. How much ice time could the others handle on top of the all-out minutes they had played the night before?
Though it did seem that the Bruins themselves had been brought back to life in the third, as evidenced by the increasing shots on Hiller’s net, the score remained stubbornly in the favor of the Ducks. And as though the fates were laughing at the Bruins, Ducks’ Patrick Maroon was called for tripping at 17:02. There were some Twitter comments about watching two minutes of passing (aka the Bruins Power Play) when Bruins’ captain, Zdeno Chara, positioned in front of Hiller, managed to get one behind the Ducks’ tender.
Suddenly there was a roar within the Garden that could have woken the dead as everyone began to believe again.
They would have to suffer through a non-eventful, albeit stressful, five-minute overtime period before the shoot out determined the winner. Tuukka Rask remained tall, stoning all Ducks who attempted to sneak one by him, and fortunately for the Bruins, Jarome Iginla got it past Hiller.
Despite some frightful moments, the Bruins had managed to get the two points, and the Kelly-Spooner-Soderberg line proved to be a good combination. Chris Kelly, playing more on the wing than his traditional position at center, said that Spooner’s speed was an asset and that he thought Spooner had done well during the game.
As so often happens with the Bruins, it is almost as though they must have a certain level of adversity in order to succeed. Of course, they are taking years off the lives of their fans when they scare them like this. But then what would Halloween be without a little fright to go with the ghouls and goals.