The Bruins may not be capable of dominating opponents like they did last year, but they’re still finding ways to win hockey games. And in Los Angeles on Saturday, the B’s deserved to feel good about themselves with their best win of the season over a quality opponent.
Jeremy Swayman (32 saves) was locked in and captain Brad Marchand produced a three-point night (two goals, assist) to beat the Kings, 4-2, at crypto.com Arena to improve to 4-0 on the season.
The day started with a wakeup call when it was learned that Jake DeBrusk earned a healthy scratch because he was late for a team meeting. And it appeared to focus his teammates.
The B’s took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, thanks in part to some superb penalty killing and goaltending from Swayman (14 first period saves).
They found themselves on their heels immediately when Charlie Coyle was called for interference 2:01 into the game. Swayman came up with some huge saves on the first half of that PK, including one on a clean breakaway on Adrian Kempe. Then John Beecher took a penalty midway through it, giving the Kings a 55-second 5-on-3. The B’s in front of Swayman did a much better job to kill that off and they eventually got their legs under them.
Rookie Matt Poitras, who had a rough game in San Jose, got some of his mojo back on a productive shift, creating a couple of scoring chances and, eventually, the Kings committed a foul.
The B’s scored quickly on the power play. Brad Marchand absorbed a a big hit along the right boards and then found David Pastrnak in the left circle. Pastrnak stepped to the inside and ripped a short-side shot that goalie Cam Talbot could not catch up to with his blocker, giving he B’s a 1-0 lead at 13:10. It was Pastrnak’s fifth goal of the season and he became the first Bruin to score goals in each of his first four games of the season since Dmitry Kvartalnov did it in 1992.
A great chance to extend the lead was squandered by the B’s when Arthur Kaliyev high-sticked Charlie McAvoy late in the first period, taking a double minor. But not only did the B’s apply very little pressure, they were lucky that the score wasn’t tied by the end of the advantage. Philip Danault pounce on a loose puck at the LA blue line and took off on another clean breakaway, clanging the crossbar behind Swayman.
But the Kings did get the equalizer at 6:28 of the second. Pierre-Luc Dubois sprung Alex Laferriere for a breakaway between Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo, whose desperate swipe could not keep the former Harvard forward from scoring his first career NHL goal.
An explosive 48 seconds turned the game back in the B’s favor
Morgan Geekie got the B’s their lead back at 14:45, thanks in part to another good shift of Poitras cycling and retrieving the puck. After Derek Forbort clanged a post, Poitras recovered the puck and set up Forbort again. The defenseman’s second slapper went off Milan Lucic’s leg in front and bounced to Geekie, who deposited it behind Talbot for his first as a Bruin.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Trent Frederic dropped the gloves with 6-foot-4, 200-pound Andreas Englund and landed several big rights before the linesmen jumped in, Frederic emerging with an ear-to-ear grin while pumping up the B’s bench.
And less then a minute after Geekie’s goal, Marchand snapped a wrist shot that went through Pavel Zacha’s slot battle with Anze Kopitar and somehow leaked through Talbot’s pads for the 3-1 lead, Marchand’s second of the season.
AS the B’s mucked it up for much of the third period the Kings pulled Talbot with 3:38 left. Talbot had to go back in when there was a faceoff circle in he neutral zone. The B’s then outworked the Kings down low with Pastrnak feeding Marchand his second of the game with 2:12 left to seal.
The Kings got a late power-play goal to snap the B’s streak of 18 straight penalty kills to start the season