Bruins Squander, Kings Conquer

Boston, MA- A week ago, the Boston Bruins embarrassed the Los Angeles Kings 7-0 in L.A. In Monday’s rematch, the Bruins embarrassed themselves by blowing a 2-1 lead with 26 seconds left in the game on a Trevor Moore rebound stuff. Then Andreas Athanasiou beat Linus Ullmark top shelf in overtime to earn the Kings revenge.

“We didn’t do a good job of managing the puck today,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy of the game-tying goal by Moore. “They had an off net shot that had to be three feet wide. We knocked it down, our own defenseman, right to them so that a little bit of tough luck on that particular play.”

“The other ones I think were more self-inflicted,” added Cassidy. “We lost position on Moore in front and it’s an easy tap in.”

“As for the overtime, well, you have to value the puck. The play at the end is just not a good hockey play. Let’s face it,” said the fourth-year bench boss of the Charlie Coyle turnover that led to Athanasiou’s breakaway in overtime.

Trent Frederic kicked off the scoring at 14:02 of the first period. The Bruins forecheck led to a Kings turnover just inside the blueline where Frederic’s linemate Craig Smith picked up the puck and fired a shot on goal. Cal Peterson (30 saves) made the initial stop, but the rebound fell to Coyle, who dished over to Frederic for the easy deposit into the Kings net.

The lead evaporated as quickly as it happened. Kings forward Blake Lizotte was the beneficiary of a David Pastrnakturnover in the Bruins zone. Lizotte stole the puck from Pastrnak below the goal line and fired off a pass to Olli Maatta at the blue line. Maatta fired a pass back to a streaking Lizotte that Pastrnak got a stick on, but Lizotte could shoot the puck between Ullmark’s pads for his eighth goal.

Smith fired home a Coyle pass at 19:05 of the second to put the Bruins ahead 2-1 after two periods. Coyle played keep-away from Kings center Anze Kopitar in the Los Angeles zone before creating space to get the puck to a wide-open Smith in the slot. Coyle and Mike Reilly assisted on Smith’s 11th goal.

In the third period, Boston fought off the Kings until Moore’s strike evened the score at 2-2. The 26-year-old Moore banged in a loose puck at the left post after Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort knocked down a Sean Durzi shot from the blueline. Moore was able to swat the puck past the Bruins netminder to send the game into overtime with 25 seconds left in regulation with his 10th goal.

“I felt I was good right from the start. I didn’t think I got any better, but it’s all game,” said Ullmark of his 25 save performance. “Some unlucky bounces and that’s what it comes down to in this league sometimes. It’s a good team (Los Angeles) in front of us and that’s it.”

In overtime, Coyle tried to fire a pass across the ice after spinning around just inside the Kings zone, but he passed right to Athanasiou, who had a step on defenseman Charlie McAvoy. The eight-year veteran Athanasiou raced in and beat Ullmark with a wrist shot blocker-side high for the game-winner with just over a minute remaining in overtime. The unassisted goal was Athanasiou’s eighth goal of the season. 

“I’m just playing a breakaway, basically, and he beat me fair and square,” said Ullmark of the game-winning strike. “Sometimes you got to tip your hat and give the guy credit for beating me clean. Came at an unfortunate time, obviously, because it’s overtime. There’s no way we can get it back now.”

The Bruins face the Chicago Blackhawks at T.D. Garden. The Kings’ four-game road trip (3-1) concluded in Boston. They return home to Los Angeles to host the San Jose Sharks. Both games are on Thursday.