By: Jeremy Perrigo
Boston made the quick trip from Anaheim to Los Angeles Thursday on the second night of back-to-back games to face the Kings, who lead the Pacific Division with 24 points going into the night, boasting a record of 11-5-2. After dropping a disappointing 4-2 decision to the Ducks the night before, the Bruins were looking to rebound, learning that they would be without defenseman Torey Krug, while center David Krejci would rejoin the team after missing 11 games with an upper-body injury. The Kings, after starting the season off with a record of 9-2-1 in October, have seen less success in November, heading into their matchup with the B's 2-3-1 in their last six games.
Boston came out fast at the start, looking to put Wednesday night’s game in the rear-view, the Bruins created multiple scoring chances in the first half of the period, testing goaltender Jonathan Quick early.
The Bruins would eventually break through with 3.54 left in the period. Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff back to defenseman Charlie McAvoy in the right circle of the Kings zone. McAvoy skated in from the right point, cut towards the center of the ice in front of the LA net, and tossed a backhander top-shelf past Quick to give his team the lead.
The Kings found opportunities of their own when Brandon Carlo took an interference call with 2:22 left in the period. However, with solid goaltending from Anton Khudobin and two shot blocks from McAvoy, the score would remain 1-0 after 20 minutes. Boston outshot Los Angeles 8-5 in the first period.
The Kings would head to the powerplay 3:47 into the period. Bergeron and David Pastrnak would be sent to the box for roughing with LA’s Christian Folin, as the two Bruins skated in to defend teammate Danton Heinen after he found himself on the receiving end of a big hit from the Kings’ defenseman.
It did not take LA long to cash in on the ensuing odd-man advantage, as captain Anze Kopitar got the puck to newly-acquired Jussi Jokinen, who found Drew Doughty at the hash marks to beat Khudobin with a sizzling wrist shot to knot the game at one only 46 seconds into the powerplay.
Kopitar would then take holding call at 11:15, sending Boston to the powerplay for the first time on the night. Only one second after the powerplay expired, Zdeno Chara tossed a puck on net from the left point where Frank Vatrano and Jordan Szwarz were standing in front of the net, causing enough of a distraction for the puck to sneak past Quick, restoring the Bruins lead.
LA took the play to the Boston end of the ice in the final minutes of the second period, throwing a flurry of pucks at the Bruin net. Despite recording 18 shots in the period, the Kings were unable to even up the game. The score remained 2-1 Boston, with LA taking the majority of the shots 18-11.
The final frame was easily the fastest 20 minutes for both teams. LA and Boston traded chances on opposite ends of the ice, stepping up physical play and fighting for every inch of ice. Boston had two powerplays in the period, including a Jokinen trip in the final two minutes. The Bruins failed to convert on either advantage. It turned out that they would not need an extra goal as Khudobin locked it down in the Boston net during the final period, securing the win.
Final Score: Boston 2 / Los Angeles 1
Boston outshot LA 30-28 over three periods, also winning the majority of faceoffs at 51.6%. The two teams combined for a whopping 76 hits in the game with LA taking the advantage 42-34.
Next Game: Saturday at San Jose 10:30pm EST
Charlie McAvoy was the most noticeable player in the first period for the Bruins. Not only did he score the opening goal of the game, he also made two key shot-blocks on the penalty kill towards the end of the period.
The Bruins as a team played one of their best games of the season, despite being without Brad Marchand, Anders Bjork and other regulars. One of the major problems this season for the Bruins has been consistency. Typically the toughest period for the B’s has been the first period. Thursday night they came out fast, and were rewarded with the first goal of the game. After finding early success they did not sit back and let the Kings work their way back into the game.
Anton Khudobin looked strong in net to his credit, however, LA’s second-chance opportunities were limited by shot-blocking and active sticks in front, clearing the puck from danger zones.
It is unclear how the team will maintain this success as they continue to play with a depleted roster, but if they show up with the same effort on Saturday, they are all but guaranteed another two points.