Both the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks came out flat in their season openers, but while the Bruins appear to have quickly corrected their problems, the Ducks are still trying to avoid a second straight lackluster start.
Anaheim will take another shot at its first win Thursday night in Boston, where the Ducks hope for a better showing in the building where they suffered perhaps their ugliest loss of last season.
Coming off a season in which the team surged to the top spot in the Eastern Conference, Boston was disappointed by a 4-1 opening loss to Washington last Thursday.
But the difference between that performance and the team's next one was "night and day," according to goalie Tim Thomas. The Bruins (1-1-0) responded with a dominating 7-2 victory over Carolina on Saturday night, putting 42 shots on goal and chasing Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward as Marc Savard led the way with a goal and two assists.
"We wanted to come out and put our better foot forward tonight and I think we did that," said Savard, one of seven different goal-scorers. "The biggest thing is we played simple."
The Bruins, who averaged 3.7 goals while going 29-6-6 at TD Garden last season, have another reason to feel good going into Thursday's game, the team's first since it signed standout winger Milan Lucic to a contract extension.
The 21-year-old has already provided offensive punch along with size and a gritty physical presence for Boston, but he said he'll try to raise his level of play now that's he been rewarded.
"I definitely think there's going to be a little more pressure," Lucic said. "For myself, you've just got to think about what got you here. You can't get away from those things."
Lucic and Savard both suffered minor injuries in the Bruins' lone meeting with the Ducks last season, but that didn't stop Boston from a 6-0 win on Feb. 26 that featured two goals each from Michael Ryder and Chuck Kobasew. Tim Thomas made 35 saves for the shutout.
Anaheim (0-1-1) wasn't much better to open this season, falling behind 4-0 and getting outshot 29-9 in the first two periods of a 4-1 home loss to San Jose on Saturday. The Ducks played better to open their road trip Tuesday at Minnesota, but blew a 3-0 lead in the third period and lost 4-3 in overtime.
"We're a young group and I think we need to learn how to win, and tonight we found a way to lose," goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "We were all a little bit on our heels as the (third) period went on. We were all afraid to make a mistake or give up a bad goal, and when you play like that, more often than not, it happens."
They could be feeling deja vu after digging themselves a hole with an 0-4-0 start last fall. The Ducks are still looking for the first goal from their dangerous top trio of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan, and veteran Teemu Selanne has yet to tally a point.
Anaheim's leading scorer -- with three points -- is defenseman Ryan Whitney, a Boston-area native who played college hockey at Boston University.
Jonas Hiller could be back in net after losing the opener as Ducks coach Randy Carlyle seems ready to use a rotation in the early going. Giguere was pulled from Anaheim's loss in Boston last season and has a 4.33 goals-against average in four career appearances against the Bruins.
Thomas, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, is 2-1 with a 1.66 GAA in three starts against the Ducks.