Stupid gimmick shootouts. This would have been one of those nights where a tie would have felt like a win.
For the most part, the Bruins played a strong game tonight. A couple of bad breaks in the first period led to an early deficit that the Bruins couldn’t completely climb out of. The Bruins came out flying in the first period but it was the Kings that would score on two of their first four shots. Their road weary legs held on for dear life for the extra point.
Less than a minute into the game, Michael Ryder beat Jonathan Quick only to be stopped by the post. The Kings came right down the ice and Brad Richardson beat Tim Thomas top shelf over the catching glove. Later in the first, immediately after the Kings killed a Dustin Brown holding penalty it was Michal Handzus beating Thomas with a wrist shot to doublel the Kings lead. Because the B’s were on a power play, Patrice Bergeron was still playing defense and his blocked shot deflected right onto Handzus’s stick and it was passt Thomas before he could even react. Could things have been different had a defenseman been back there and not Bergeron? Hard to say if a defenseman would have blocked the shot the way Bergy did.
The Bruins outshot the Kings 14-7 in that first period but giving up those two early goals on only four shots really hurt.
Jarret Stoll scored on a perfectly executed three on two just two and a half minutes into the second period. The Bruin defense backed in on Thomas and the Kings used that space to allow Stoll the prime real estate he needed to beat Thomas. Then that was it for the Kings and thier offense. Having played last night in Buffalo, you could see that thier legs were heavy.
The comeback started a couple minutes later. Blake Wheeler’s “seeing eye goal” got the Bruins on the board but it was the fourth line of Greg Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Brad Marchand that really got the Garden faithful thinking a comeback could happen tonight. Thornton had already drawn a penalty earlier in the night and on the rush he drew another one. Thomas got to the bench and with the extra attacker, Marchand found a wide open Thornton at the top of the circle. His low, hard blast was enough to create a rebound and there was Campbell to put home the rebound. Then it was a matter of time before the B’s would tie it up.
Patrice Bergeron’s goal with just over six minutes remaining put the sellout crowd into a frenzy. His goal capped of a period where the B’s put 17 shots on goal only to have Quick stifle the hard charging Bruins time and time again.
Overtime was quiet with the exception of one of the linsemen taking a puck off the foot or ankle. He was assisted to the dressing room and didn’t come back for the shootout.
Michal Handzus scored the only goal for the Kings on their sixth shootout attempt, clinching the extra point for the visitors.
Don’t forget to look for Eric Cooney’s thoughts on the Kings victory.
Once again, the hockey world lost one of it’s finest coaches. Pat Burns lost his battle with cancer yesterday. Burnsy coached the B’s from the 1997/98 season and into the 2000/01 season. He lasted eight games as the Bruins coach that final season. He definitlely deserved a better chance that final season. He had greater success with the other teams he coached. A Cup Final in 1989 with Montreal, two conferences Finals with Toronto and finally – a Stanley Cup victory in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils. He won the Jack Adams trophy as Coach of the Year in three different seasons. Once with the Canadiens, the Maple Leafs and his last one was with the Bruins. It’s a shame he was never elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame before his passing.
Our condolences to the Burns family.
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Written by Jim Mulligan