BOSTON – When the Bruins fell behind 3-0 after Kings forward Jarret Stoll scored his seventh goal of the year just 2:50 into the second period, it seemed like it would not be their night. They had outshot the Los Angeles 14-7 after one period, but the Kings went into the locker room up 2-0 thanks to goals from Brad Richardson and Michal Handzus and the effort of goaltender Jonathan Quick.
But as we’ve seen during the course of the year, the Bruins showed resiliency and were able to make another three-goal comeback, only to lose in a 4-3 shootout loss in front of a sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden.
“That’s been the attitude that the guys have had this year,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who saw his team come back from a three-goal deficit against the Washington Capitals on November 6th only to fall in defeat. “They battle until the end and its served us well so far in certain games…but tonight down 3-0 and being able to stick with it and we got ourselves back in the game. It’s unfortunate that tonight [at the end of the night] that it ends up in a loss because of a shootout.”
Just 1:40 after Stoll’s tally, Bruins forward Blake Wheeler scored his fourth goal of the year at the 4:30 mark as Quick was unable to secure a loose puck that sneaked past him for Boston’s first goal of the game.
About midway through the second, Gregory Campbell would pull the Bruins within one at 11:57 when he knocked home a rebound off Shawn Thornton’s shot for his second goal of the year.
During the course of the third stanza, the Bruins dominated the Kings and spent the majority of the period in the LA end as they threw everything towards Quick in an attempt to tie the game.
But when given a golden opportunity, the Bruins capitalized and tied things up. That golden opportunity came when Kings forward Kyle Clifford took a slashing penalty at 12:23 to put the Bruins on their fifth power play of the game. With just about nine seconds remaining on Clifford’s minor, Patrice Bergeron took a feed from Wheeler and walked in all alone on Quick. Bergy went top shelf on the LA netminder to tie things up at 3-3 at 13:34.
The resilient Bruins had the momentum going into overtime and had a chance to steal two points. But despite falling short, there are a lot of positives to take out of the contest.
“We might have been frustrated a little bit, but we’re just trying to take the positive out of the game,” said Bruins forward David Krejci, who returned to the Bruins lineup for the first time in two weeks after sustaining a minor concussion. “We were down 3-0 and we scored three goals to tie the game. We had a chance to win the game so that’s a positive thing. We got one point against a Western Conference team, so that’s good for us.”
“They have a good team. It’s a tough building to come into,” noted Quick, who made 38 saves in the Kings’ victory. “We gave up a three-goal lead, which I feel is unlike us. But at the end of the day, we found a way to battle back and get the win.”
After a scoreless overtime, Handzus struck again in the sixth round of the shootout after letting a wrist shot go past Thomas to seal the Kings’ fourth consecutive overtime/shootout victory. Handzus’ shootout winner also snapped LA’s three-game losing streak.
“It’s huge. It’s two points,” Handzus said. “Obviously it wasn’t ideal. We didn’t play as well as we would have liked to, but they have a good team and they came out hard in the third period, but we stuck to it and we got two points and that’s what we needed.”