By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Home: Boston Bruins (29-17-8)
Away: Los Angeles Kings (23-27-4)
The Boston Bruins are back in action for another matinee game, the second one in two consecutive weekends. Boston is coming off of a shootout loss to the New York Rangers in a game where the team once had a 3-1 lead in the third period but allowed the Rangers to come back and win. The Bruins hold the first wild-card spot, two points behind Montreal with a game in hand.
The Los Angeles Kings are in the middle of a three-game winning streak, all of which coming this week. The Kings have struggled this year, having a below-.500 winning rate, but are somehow only six points away from being in a playoff spot, so these wins are crucial for them to make a big push late.
Bruins GameDay Lineup:
Bruce Cassidy announced that D Matt Grzelcyk is out with a lower-body injury and D John Moore is back in the lineup to replace him.
After a touching, memorable ceremony to honour Patrice Bergeron reaching the 1000-game milestone, the Bruins and Kings went back-and-forth as I predicted in the pre-game preview. In the first seven minutes of this hockey game, there was no whistle. Boston was outshooting the Kings 5-0 during that time, but even then, the offensive seemed a bit slow and off.
Right off of the first whistle, L.A. started to find their game. They started to cycle the puck around the Boston zone – getting a pair of shots on Rask. Forward Jake DeBrusk got too reckless with the stick while the Kings were controlling and he is sent to the box for two minutes for hooking. On the shorthanded play, Brad Marchand has a chance to get out of the zone and get a breakaway but is interfered by Alex Iafallo and the Bruins are to the power-play after nine seconds of 4-on-4.
Los Angeles did a good job clearing the puck on the penalty-kill and preventing any good chances by the Bruins. The best chance for the B’s came in the dying seconds of the man-advantage, where McAvoy fired a shot, leaving a rebound open for Backes who failed to capitalize due to the magnet-like defence of the Kings.
The Bruins and Kings continue the period at a very high-paced level. Boston seems to be getting the better of the chances and getting more quality shots on Jonathan Quick while the Kings have not had too many opportunities on Rask. The defensive side of the puck has been solid as well with 2.5 minutes to go in the first for the B’s.
With just over a minute to go, David Krejci makes a sweet move and a nice pass to an open Peter Cehlarik but Quick dives across to make a big stop late. The Bruins have been getting better and better as this period goes on. All of their chances have been met by Quick. Looking good heading into the first intermission.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 15 LAK: 6
Chances continue for the Bruins early in the second period as Krejci has an open net to shot at off a rebound, but the puck could not lay flat on the ice for him and no shot came from it. Right off that, a minute into the middle frame, Drew Doughty is sent to the box for delay of game.
Los Angeles had another solid penalty-kill like they had in the first period, even getting some shots on Tuukka Rask while shorthanded. The Bruins could not generate much offence on the power-play, another poor effort on the man-advantage.
Less than five minutes into the period, Danton Heinen made a nice pass across the zone to Patrice Bergeron who made an absolutely beautiful no-look feed to Charlie McAvoy cutting behind the play. McAvoy buries it past Quick into the open net for his second goal of the season. Assists go to Bergeron and Heinen.
Not long after the goal, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara would be caught at the blueline on an interference minor while trying to receive a pass from Brad Marchand. Bruins allowed one shot on the previous penalty-kill and they will go back shorthanded here.
Kings had arguably the best power-play of either team on this one. Iafallo had one of the best chances on the man-advantage, taking a shot on Rask who was moving side-to-side but Rask makes a brilliant blocker save. Once the penalty was successfully killed off, David Krejci is called on a slashing penalty and the Bruins are right back at a 5-on-4 deficit. LA is starting to get more confident while rushing into the zone.
Give too many chances and eventually, they will score. Alex Iafallo on virtually the same shot as on the last penalty fires a one-timer through Rask and it is a tied game. Iafallo’s eleventh goal on the season and gets back at Tuukka for the big save earlier in the frame. Assists go to Martinez and Kempe.
Even though the Kings tied it, the Bruins off the hands of their top line came right back with some good zone control. For a few minutes, it looked like a power-play for the B’s. Clean passes, shots on net, and nice job cycling the puck. No goals came from the zone time, but it was a good look for the team considering the goal against.
With six minutes to go in the period, the Bruins fail to get the puck out of the zone, lose coverage on Anze Kopitar who fires a shot past Rask and just like that, the Kings are leading 2-1. Assists go to Dustin Brown and Dion Phaneuf. Brown’s assist was his 599th career NHL point.
Defenceman John Moore had to go off with around four minutes left to go in the frame after taking a wrist shot off of the visor, appearing to cut his nose. If he is not wearing a visor, that is a much more dangerous situation than what it is. Moore did return to the bench a few minutes later.
The poor passing of the Bruins – especially on the breakout passes continue. A turnover in the neutral zone leads to Brandon Carlo tripping Iafallo as he entered the zone. Bruins to yet another penalty-kill. Los Angeles had three shots but the B’s do make a successful kill on the Carlo minor – ending the period for both teams at a 2-1 LA lead. The tides changed after a solid first period for Boston, the shots were 16-7 in favour of the Kings in the second. Things need to change if the Bruins want even a point in this one.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 22 LAK: 22
Score: 2-1 Kings
The opening minutes were quite close between the two teams, with the first line continuing the solid play. Danton Heinen has found success this game with great forecheck alongside Bergeron and Marchand and he would be rewarded with a goal less than four minutes in. McAvoy fired a shot and Heinen was there for the rebound. That’s three points in two games for Danton and his eighth goal of the 2018-19 season. Assists to McAvoy and Marchand.
A minute-and-a-half later and the Bruins strike again. Torey Krug’s shot bounces directly to David Krejci who fires it past Quick and early, the Bruins have a 3-2 lead in this hockey game. Right after the goal though, Chris Wagner is headed to the box for tripping Ilya Kovalchuk and Boston is once again to the penalty-kill.
The penalty-kill was going well for the B’s, holding off any really good chances by Los Angeles. Then, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand find themselves on a shorthanded 2-on-1, where Marchand buried the goal past Quick. The shorthanded tally was Marchand’s 24th of his career, tying him with Derek Sanderson for the second-most shorthanded goals in Boston Bruins franchise history.
Even with the three goals early in this period, the Bruins still have struggles getting the puck out of the zone – a trend that has been hurting the Bruins this game and comes back to do it again. Kevan Miller’s clear is picked off and Brandon Leipsic makes a slick pass to Nate Thompson, the former Bruin, who beats Tuukka Rask and around the halfway mark of the period, it is a one-goal game again.
LA has been putting on pressure like they have at numerous times throughout this game, but the Bruins manage to hold off any goals and get the puck out of the zone. Missed opportunity for the Kings not to score on a lengthy zone chance like that.
With 5:14 to go in the final regulation period, Derek Forbert finds a sneaking Carl Hagelin who is open backdoor but Rask sees him coming and slides over to make the saves. The chances are piling up for Los Angeles after nearly six minutes of play without a whistle.
Like I said earlier, give enough chances, and they will score. With 4:47 to go in the game, Oscar Fantenberg rips a bomb at the point from a Doughty pass and goes top shelf. Tuukka Rask does not see the puck until it hits the mesh – we are tied at four.
Each team had valiant efforts in the dying minutes of the third, but it heads to 3-on-3 overtime. This game should be over and we can look ahead to the Avalanche tomorrow. Boston cannot seem to hold any sort of lead for long, even when they score three goals in the first ten minutes.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 LAK: 28
Los Angeles gets the first really good chance of the always-exciting overtime session as Adrian Kempe gets alone on a breakaway but Tuukka Rask stones Kempe with the blocker. David Krejci made the bad pass that led to the chance but Rask did his job well.
With 3:33 remaining in overtime, Ilya Kovalchuk sticks his stick out, catching David Pastrnak’s skates – sending the Bruins to a 4-on-3 power-play in overtime. Brilliant chance here for Boston to strike and win the game.
And win is what they would do. Torey Krug finds Bergeron on the other side of the ice, Bergeron waits and fires a picture-perfect shot off of the post and in and the Bruins win 5-4 in overtime. Bergeron gets the game-winning goal, the third-most game-winning goals in Boston Bruins history.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 33 LAK: 29
Final Score: 5-4 Bruins
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 GWG, 2 Assists, 7 Shots, 21:23 TOI
2nd Star: BOS D Charlie McAvoy – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +2 Rating, 23:35 TOI
3rd Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +3 Rating, 22:30 TOI
Boston takes on the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow in the TD Garden.