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RECAP: Bruins win 2-1, hand Los Angeles fourth straight home loss

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We don’t blame you for going to sleep, but... you missed a heckuva game.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Los Angeles Kings
A solid win for the Bruins, backstopped by Anton Khudobin.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wow - what a game. A physical effort from the Kings couldn’t stop the Bruins from scoring in the first, and the second half of the game was a narrow contest. We’ll leave it at that.

First Period

The Bruins came out firing, getting several in-close chances early; a shot by Frank Vatrano produced a rebound that he nearly buried himself. Patrice Bergeron and Danton Heinen had a near-clear rush, and through 10 minutes, the B’s held the lead in shots, 7-4. The downside: LA came to crush, landing 11 official hits before Boston registered their first.

A good push from the B’s forecheck led to some surprisingly strong cycle from the Vatrano - Riley Nash - Noel Acciari line. Acciari especially stood out in the first period, forcing the Kings’ defensemen to absorb a hit or ice the puck several times.

On the less fortunate side of things, miscues from the B’s defense continued; Zdeno Chara totally missed a pass to Bergeron, turnover; Brandon Carlo sent puck around boards too far, turnover. Acciari had a strong second shift and got the Kings’ full attention by finishing his own checks. This line, along with the Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly - Jordan Szwarz line, would continue to force the Kings to the outside and into icing the puck again.

With 4 minutes to play and the Bruins’ cycle in full effect, Charlie McAvoy slipped Tanner Pearson in coverage, walked in on Quick and deked to his backhandfor a GOAL. 1-0, Bruins.

Brandon Carlo would take a penalty with 2:22 to go, and LA set up their power play but couldn’t generate a strong shot on goal. McAvoy headed to locker room early much to Twitter’s chagrin, but hope wins in this case, as it’s just a blocked shot - he returns for the second, don’t worry.

Second Period

Like clockwork, McAvoy took an ill-timed penalty thirty seconds into the period. The B’s kill it, but not without fatigue to reliable players in Acciari and Schaller, who played well on the PK.

Heinen was laid out by Folin. This is a bone-jarring hit.

He got up right away, but Bergeron came to his defense and took a penalty. Bergeron sat for the initial roughing and Pastrnak and Folin joined him for playing pattycakes.

With a clean rush - one of their few golden chances in the entire game - Drew Doughty scored for the Kings on the power play; 1-1 game.

Bergeron took ANOTHER penalty with less than 13 minutes to play in the period by hooking Kings forward Alex Iafallo; though, in the Prince’s defense, Iafallo would have had a clear shot on a nearly-empty net. Fortunately, the penalty kill bailed out Bergeron by controlling the Kings’ zone entries to the edges and getting a few easy clears.

There were a few hiccups in this period, to be sure - a close-call fumble in front of Khudobin took the advantageous route, bouncing into a turnover and a strong DeBrusk skate-and-shoot that seemed to surprise Quick.

Not content with getting ALL the power-plays, Anze Kopitar was called for holding Heinen. Near the end of the penalty, a hard rush by the Bruins saw Postma - POSTMA - striding towards the net, where he one-timed the puck wide; it would bounce out to Chara at the point, who hammered a one-timer off the clearing attempt and had it tipped in front by the Kings. 2-1, Bruins.

The Kings balanced the ice out a bit, spending a solid minute in the attacking end with less than five minutes to play. Shots were nearly even. The Kings made a strong push at end of the second, sending a puck or two wide and keeping the B’s behind the center line, yet were unable to tie the game.

Third Period

The B’s started off with a power play after some oddly-integrated penalties were handed out to Andreoff (high-sticking), Carlo (slashing), and MacDermid (unsportsmanlike conduct).

Sean Kuraly nearly wrapped a third goal home, though the puck was cleared just wide of the net by the defense. Serious pressure from Bruins forecheck pushed LA back on their heels by the ten-minute mark of the third, and the B’s didn’t look back. This would continue for nearly five full minutes before the Kings could counter. and while the Bruins couldn’t hit the empty net in the final minute, the reward was the process in this match, and as Jack said: “this [was] an exciting November game.”

Takeaways

This was a hard-nosed game, for sure. The Kings were determined early to outhit the Bruins and they managed to push the Bruins back a bit in the second period, where LA outshot Boston 18-11. In crunch time, the Bruins met strong pressure with even stronger board play; most LA rushes were dissolved and dismissed to the side boards. Every Bruin seemed to be engaged tonight, too; for example, Vatrano chipped and chased down a loose puck with 4 minutes to play to force LA deep and allow a line change. That’s what buy-in looks like.

Less than favorable was the Bruins taking the first four penalties of the game for either team (with an LA matching mixed in the second, after Folin’s hit on Heinen); not so much for the energy, but for the culprits. Bergeron could have avoided taking that first penalty while still reminding Folin who’s a deity and who isn’t. The hook later in the game, not so much.

The greatest improvement between last night’s and tonight’s game was the compete level. All players bought into the force-out plan so that anytime the LA puck carrier approached the boards, he was squashed; a simple but effective plan for a team that wants to charge north-south. The next game in San Jose will be just as tough.