BOSTON -- If facing one of the NHL's perennial top teams was a measuring stick Thursday night, the Ducks measured up mighty fine.
They just couldn't add to the win column.
Satisfaction was only partial and not complete for the Ducks, who couldn't finish off last season's Stanley Cup finalist Boston Bruins and ultimately dropped a 3-2 shootout decision at TD Garden.
Jarome Iginla got the only shootout goal. It followed Zdeno Chara's tying power-play score with 2:50 left that hurt the Ducks (10-3-1), who picked up another point in the standings but failed to hold onto the other as their three-game win streak ended.
"The guys are disappointed," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They want to win every game. That's why the record is what it is right now. They're not going to be happy with a shootout loss.
"We wanted that extra point. We didn't get it. I would expect nobody to be happy."
What the Ducks have left is proof that they can dictate a game against a premier opponent. The Bruins had just one shot on goal in the first period and could only push Carl Soderberg's first NHL goal past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller for 57-plus minutes.
Devante Smith-Pelly and Mathieu Perreault put the Ducks in position for another triumph by scoring and assisting on each other's goals. Patrick Maroon's tripping penalty late in the third opened up a final chance for Bruins that was cashed in.
"We almost made it through," said Hiller, who made 21 stops. "But we don't want every game to end on a (penalty kill) like the last two games. Sometimes, somewhere, it's going to cost you.
"That definitely hurts. We won a point but we'd rather get two."
In the shootout, Nick Bonino and Corey Perry lost the puck on their attempts while Ryan Getzlaf fired a shot off the right post.
"I flubbed my shot," Perry said. "He took away what I wanted to do and he beat me. Sometimes that's going to happen."
VATANEN FUTURE BRIGHT
Hours before his NHL debut last season, Sami Vatanen was the picture of confidence and gave the impression of someone who didn't have a worry in the world to those who approached his stall in the Ducks' locker room.
Not much has changed since the young Finnish defenseman earned a regular spot in the lineup. The amount of travel the Ducks have -- particularly on this current trip -- is an adjustment in his first full year, but Vatanen is just enjoying his "normal hockey life."
You can't say someone who has played fewer than two dozen games has mastered the league, but the 22-year-old skilled puck mover is looking like he is ready to stay for a while.
"Of course, it's much easier," Vatanen said. "I was here hanging out with the boys last season. I didn't play that much but I got into this team and we were getting to know each other so it's helped me a lot this season.
"And now I'm getting good playing time and things like that. Confidence is good right now. I can play in this league. I have to learn to be better every day and work for that. Just enjoy it."
The Ducks were set on moving their talented defender into the lineup this season and the early results have been encouraging as they hoped. The points have been slow to come but his puck movement has been top-notch.
What has been the most surprising aspect of Vatanen's game has been his defensive work and amount of grit packed in his diminutive 5-foot-10, 183-pound frame. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau loves his competitiveness.
"He and Bryan Allen, I think, have been a real good pair," Boudreau said. "There's been instances, like a couple of games, where he hasn't been exactly what he wanted to be. But that's what you expect from a first-year guy.
"But his consistency has been great. I think he'd probably like to get a little more offensive stats but that's going to come in time, I believe."
Vatanen's ability to make a play in the offensive zone showed itself Tuesday night in Philadelphia when he drew three defenders his way and managed to get the puck to Nick Bonino, who fed Kyle Palmieri for the winning goal.
There are risks and there are rewards. Boudreau was impressed, saying "what it personifies is him flying under the radar because nobody mentioned a thing about him" when it came to the score.
Said Vatanen: "I like to keep the puck more than just dump it in."
More important to him is the eagerness of Boudreau and Ducks general manager Bob Murray to push his development this season.
"Of course it helps a lot," Vatanen said. "Especially for their confidence in me. That I know they trust me and I can play my own game. There's some thing that I have to be better at.
"I'm just trying to go there and do my best. Be better every day."
KOIVU, FASTH STAY HOME
Boudreau said center Saku Koivu and goalie Viktor Fasth are unlikely to return for the final stops of their eight-game trip as they deal with their current injuries.
Both are back in Orange County receiving treatment. Koivu has a head injury after being hit by Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky on Sunday. Fasth has been out since Oct. 17 because of a troublesome unspecified lower-body injury.
The two are expected to also miss Saturday's game against Buffalo and Monday night's contest against the New York Rangers to end the trip.
"I assume they're all just going to wait until we come home on Tuesday," Boudreau said.
SBISA GETTING READY
The Ducks assigned Luca Sbisa to Norfolk (AHL) as the first step to getting the injured defenseman back to readiness for NHL action.
Sbisa hasn't played this season after suffering a sprained left ankle in the first preseason game against Phoenix. He is expected to play in at least two Norfolk's three road games this weekend at Albany, Bridgeport and Hershey.
The club also returned forward Rickard Rakell to Norfolk.
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