Jonathan Quick shuts out Bruins as Kings beat B’s 2-0
Despite the game starting three and a half hours later than they are used to the Bruins seemed to have no difficulty finding their legs early in the game. The Kings fast-paced style was easy to counter early on leading to an early chance by Nathan Horton on a 2-on-1 but Jonathan Quick snuffed it out fairly easily.
The typical clash between conference styles made for an interesting first few minutes. The east-west style of the Bruins was able to navigate through the neutral zone quite easily and the Kings north-south game was able to get tips into the Bruins zone but didn’t have much in the way of possession. Still, both teams felt each other out in the opening frame, testing weaknesses and seeing how they clashed against unfamiliar foes. The Bruins forechecking really challenged the Kings defense, who looked like they were used to having more time to make decisions. Quick was more than ready to make up for gaffs in his own zone though.
The first power-play of the night when Los Angeles’ way when Zdeno Chara went to the box for a hook. The Kings made the penalty hurt when Ryan Smyth converted the Kings first power-play in 23 attempts when he tipped a shot from the point in past Tim Thomas. Smyth stood right in front of Thomas, where he has made his hay, and tipped a low slap shot past the screened Thomas. Johnny Boychuk had released Smyth and skated out to face the shot, letting Smyth gather and put in the rebound.
With the Kings gaining momentum shift by shift after the goal Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Kyle Clifford, the Kings resident pugilist. The two had a great battle along the boards, trading haymakers and staying on their feet for the duration in what can only be judged as a draw. Blake Wheeler would get sent to the box a few minutes later, giving the Kings a power-play with just over two minutes left in the opening frame. The Kings had the puck in the Bruins zone for most of the power-play but couldn’t get a good shot on net despite having the puck on the perimeter for most of the time.
Tim Thomas made a big save in the first few minutes when he stacked the pads and made a body save on a Kings rush as the tempo ratcheted up in the early part of the second period. The Bruins would get their first penalty a little more than five minutes in when Wayne Simmonds went to the box for holding. The Bruins had a great look when Chara blasted a one-timer of the side of the goal but after that the Kings beared down and had a great kill and nearly scored when Simmonds hammered a slap shot on net on a break when he was released from the box. Thomas saved it between his arm and body and hung on somehow for the faceoff.
After that bid the Kings got a ton of momentum, creating turnovers and rifling shots on Thomas but the Bruins goaltender made a couple of sparkling glove saves in the middle of the period to keep his team in it. Things got chippy in the second period as well when Dustin Brown hit Steve Kampfer up high and then a mini-scrum ensued after Alexei Ponikarovsky was sent to the sin bin. The Kings killed the penalty off rather well as the Bruins power-play continued to look lost without Marc Savard‘s passing prowess.
All the offense that the Bruins tried to generate seemed to be stopped by Kings defenders blocking their shots. The Bruins would possess the puck for long periods but would be constantly chasing their deflected shots all over the Kings zone.
Thomas’ heroics continued in the first minute of the third period when he made a pad save on a 2-on-1 going left-to-right. The Bruins would then get their third power-play of the game in the first minute when Rob Scuderi was called for high-sticking. Jon Quick had a great save of his own on Milan Lucic on a nice 2-on-1 bid from in tight to keep his team on top. Despite having a few opportunities the Bruins power-play failed again.
The Kings would get a rush the other way in which Anze Kopitar stole the puck and raced up the right side all the way down to the goal line. He would dish to Brown in the circle who then shot and the puck bounced to Andrei Loktionov for what was essentially an empty-net lay up. The goal gave the Kings are strong grip on the game as it appeared that Quick was destined for a shutout.
The Bruins didn’t help their cause when Shawn Thornton went to the box with under 10 minutes left. The Bruins killed off the most important penalty of the game by the skin of their teeth. The Kings moved the puck very well and got a few shots on Thomas but none could beat him.
With two minutes left and down by two goals the Bruins pulled Thomas. However, the Bruins continued to have passes and shots blocked and struggled to get anything on Quick, let alone a good chance.
The Bruins return home to face the Panthers on Wednesday.