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A Boston Brawl in Los Angeles
There is no getting away from the beating the Kings endured against the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins Saturday evening. The Kings looked like a battered bunch in the dressing room after the game. Although the final second empty netter goal by Brad Marchand made the game look more lopsided than it was at 4-2, if anything the fact the Kings never let the game got out of hand was a good sign despite the loss.
And that is what left a taste of disappointment in head coach Darryl Sutter’s mouth.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” Sutter said. “We didn’t finish the job against a team like that.”
Of course the Bruins had a stopper in the crease that was the Conn Smythe winner in last year’s playoffs, and his 40 stops had a lot to do with how Boston dictated this game.
With the odd 6:00 p.m. start time, the Kings came out on fire in the first period catching Boston flat-footed. The Kings outshot the Bruins 15-11 in the first 20 minutes, and despite the 0-0 stalemate the Kings looked to be in a good position to continue their six-game winning streak. It was almost the inverse of the Kings’ game Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues where the Kings had no answer for St. Louis.
And like the Kings in the second period on Thursday, the Bruins came back in the second period with fists blazing. A hit by Dennis Seidenberg on Drew Doughty behind the Boston net left the Kings’ defenseman lip bloodied, evidence that remained on the ice until the television time out when the ice was cleaned. Perhaps the nadir came when Doughty coughed up the puck on the Kings’ blue line during a power play, Marchand getting a short-handed chance with Patrice Bergeron cleaning up the rebound and stuffing it past goaltender Jonathan Quick.
It was only the second short-handed goal the Kings had given up during the season, and it looked like the Kings were reeling. Fortunately Quick was keeping the team in the game, bailing out some of the bad plays occurring out in front of him.
And in a moment late in the second period, the Kings had a 3-on-2 break with Doughty leading the play on the right side. As Kyle Clifford crashed the crease from the slot, Doughty passed the puck to Colin Fraser on the left wing. One shot by Fraser, and the game somehow was tied.
That goal seemed to energize the Kings who managed seven more shots in the period from that point on, but more mistakes plagued the team. A goal that Quick should have stopped in the third period by Milan Lucic gave the Bruins the 2-1 lead, and that was compounded by a 3-on-2 break that ended with Chris Kelly’s 19th goal of the season.
Most of the time during the season that would be the appropriate time to pour the dirt over the Kings, but not so this time. Defenseman Slava Voynov made things interesting down the stretch with a great shot from the high slot after a faceoff win to make it a one-goal game, and if not for Thomas’ heroics down the stretch the game was there for the taking.
With the San Jose Sharks beating the Phoenix Coyotes in a shootout and Vancouver beating the Colorado Avalanche in overtime, Phoenix jumped to seventh place with 87 points and the Kings, Sharks and Avalanche tied with 86 points. Kings have the tiebreakers over San Jose and Colorado.
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