The good news for the Bruins, is the playing schedule for the month of January is over. The bad news is the team continues to limp towards the Olympic break. Last night the guys played a spirited game in Buffalo with no results and were back at home tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.
Coming into the night, the Kings were nearing the end of a five game road trip where they have been a perfect 3-0. To open the game, the Bruins offense benefitted from a pair of early King penalties but the former goalie from the University of Massachusetts, Jonathan Quick, was there to stop everything the Bruins threw at him.
Since Milan Lucic's return from injury, he has been “haunted” by the referee's cheap penalty calls. Last week against Columbus, he received a double minor for high sticking that led to the Blue Jackets game winning goal. The refs don't get the luxury of replays but we all saw the high stick call was an error as one Blue Jacket took out a teammate. Tonight, it was Looch hitting a Kings defender, then shoving him earning him a cross checking call. Off the ensueing faceoff, the Kings worked the puck to Anzi Kopitar. His shot from the right point was deflected in the slot by Dustin Brown and just like that – the Bruins carry the play for the most part and find themselves down a goal.
The Bruin highlight of the night was Mark Stuart's hit on LA's star, Anzi Kopitar. This hit was exactly like the one by Niklas Kromwell's hit on Martin Havlat in the Detroit/Chicago Conference Final last spring. What happened was Kopitar received a pass from his defenseman near his own blueline. Kopitar had his head down, Stuart stepped up and pancaked him.
Kopitar said after the game, “I am pretty sure if it wasn’t clean I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. He could have taken my head off. Maybe I am fortunate he is not as tall as Chara because he would have definitely taken my head off. It is one of those plays that happens in the game. He caught me looking backwards, and I didn’t really see it on the replay yet, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t a dirty hit.”
This hit was immediately responded to by Wayne Simmons. He dropped his gloves and took on Stuart. For his troubles he got 19 minutes in penalties and the Bruins got a four minute power play. During the power play, the Bruins finally caught a break. The Kings won a faceoff and as Drew Doughty shot the puck down the ice, he hit the linesman square in the back dropping the puck at Marc Savard's stick. He found a wide open Marco Sturm in the slot. While Sturm looked to pass the puck to Michael Ryder near the post, a shooting lane opened and Sturm picked the far corner to tie the game. The game remained tie until the early minutes of the third period. That's when Mark Recchi deflected a David Krejci pass during a power play rush giving the Bruins their first lead in a game since January 21st against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Anzi Kopitar tied the game with a wrist shot through traffic. Thomas got a piece of it but not enough. For those of you out there that don't see too many LA Kings games, Anzi Kopitar and Drew Doughty are two players that are worth the time and money for the Center Ice package to watch these guys on a regular basis.
The Bruins seemed to have the better chances in overtime but Quick was solid and the game went to the shootout. Even the shootout went to overtime as each team had six chances and that's where the Kings outscored the B's 3-2 to win the game by the same score.
Tonight's three stars…
3 – Jarret Stoll had an assist and scored a beauty as the game winner in the shootout
2 – Patrice Bergeron had no points on the scoresheet but led the Bruins with 7 shots on goal and a 68% in the faceoff dot
1 – Anzi Kopitar was the best player on the ice for both teams. He had a goal and an assist and BY FAR THE BEST GOAL IN THE SHOOTOUT. He absolutely abused Thomas for the first Kings shootout goal
It doesn't get any easier for the Bruins – next up the Washington Capitals come to Boston on Tuesday night
As always – Go B's!
About the Author
Written by Jim Mulligan