3 takeaways from the Bruins’ shootout loss to the Kings
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the second period but failed to build on that lead in the third, losing its second game at TD Garden all season.
Frustration plagued the Boston Bruins as they dropped their second home shootout contest in the last two weeks.
A productive second period saw Jim Montgomery’s squad jump out to a 2-0 lead, only to see that slowly dissipate in the third period.
Taylor Hall started the scoring with a snipe on a delayed penalty midway through the second period. Hall’s wicked wrister flew past the short side of Phoenix Copley for his 12th tally of the year.
Brad Marchand found his own top corner just two minutes later, this time on the man advantage. With all the time in the world, Marchand picked the far side to double Boston’s lead over the Kings.
“I liked how aggressive our defensemen were holding the offensive zone on walls,” Montgomery said. “I liked how we wore out the back of the net, I Iiked how we got to the front of the net.”
Linus Ullmark’s shutout bid ended at 8:29 of the third period. Adrian Kempe put home the doorstep rebound to give Los Angeles a fighting chance in the second half of the final frame.
The Bruins found themselves in late penalty trouble after successive minors from Connor Clifton and Brandon Carlo. Kempe once again made the Bruins pay after tying things up at 2-2 on a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage.
Montgomery’s club failed to convert on a late third-period power play opportunity that carried over to overtime.
“Our play was sloppy, our passing was sloppy,” the first-year Bruins’ head coach said. “On the 4-on-3, we should gain the blue line pretty easy, and we weren’t.”
Fresh off a multi-year contract extension, Trevor Moore clinched the Kings’ 3-2 victory in the seventh round of the shootout.
Here’s what we learned after the Bruins lost their second game of the season on TD Garden ice.
The Bruins squandered their late-game power play opportunities.
In a penalty-filled affair, the Bruins’ power play let them down when it mattered most.
Los Angeles’ successful 5-on-3 conversion late in the third forced Boston to convert on their following power play opportunity after Drew Doughty cross-checked Marchand.
The Bruins were in a prime spot to reclaim the lead they possessed for so long in the second and third periods. They had a chance to end things in the closing seconds of regulation on a 5-on-4 attempt that eventually converted into a 4-on-3 opportunity to start overtime.
The Bruins remained static with the man advantage, failing to generate much of anything in crunch time.
“Nothing worked,” Marchand said following the loss. “We weren’t on the same page.”
A feeling of restlessness began to spread on the Boston bench after Doughty exited the penalty box. The failed conversion at such a critical juncture would ultimately come back to bite them.
“I said it to [assistant coach] Chris Kelly on the bench,” Montgomery said. “If we don’t score on the second power play that we got, we’re gonna end up in a tight ballgame.”
Marchand is searching for his next gear.
Frustration spread throughout Boston’s bench as they stood stagnant at two goals. As the Bruins’ emotional spark plug, Marchand certainly showcased his irritable side on more than one occasion.
Point production hasn’t evaded the elite winger since his return from injury. Marchand’s offensive output, as well as his ahead-of-schedule return, are all ringing positives for the 34-year-old winger and his teammates.
There is, however, still another gear.
“[Marchand] has such high expectations of himself. I mean, he’s a superstar in the league,” Montgomery said. “He’s used to being able to do what he wants when he wants to do it. It’s a learning process and a growth process for him. Having gone through two hip surgeries, we’re lucky we had him back when we did, and he’s still helping us win hockey games.”
Marchand’s frustration boiled over in the overtime frame, as his night-long bout with Phillip Danault culminated with a wrestling match at the other end of the ice.
“I have high expectations for my game,” Marchand said after snapping his four-game point skid. “It’s a process. It’s not something that’s gonna happen overnight. We’ve just gotta keep chipping away, and you know, it’s coming back. I feel more comfortable out there. I feel like my conditioning is getting back. It’s coming.”
Hall’s scoring production on the third line continued.
The Bruins had their hands full against a tight-checking Kings squad during 5-on-5 play. Of all skaters, Hall generated most of Boston’s limited quality scoring chances during the first 40 minutes.
Hall missed the net on a first-period breakaway opportunity but later opened the scoring for the Black and Gold in the following frame. Since moving to Charlie Coyle’s left on Nov. 29, the 2018 Hart Trophy winner has notched 10 points on six goals and four assists in as many games.
Hall’s early performance marked one of the few bright spots, but the Bruins left TD Garden with a bitter taste after failing to finish off the Kings.
“We’re such a deep team, and I don’t think we took advantage of that tonight,” Hall said. “For us on home ice, that needs to be a lot better.”
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