January 10, 2014

Bruins in danger of going 0-for-California after loss to Kings

By Jesse Connolly

The Bruins fell behind by three goals early in the second period after Alec Martinez scored on a shot from the point. (Getty Images)

Final: Los Angeles 4, Boston 1

Recap: Jeff Carter put six shots on net in the first period. One found twine, thanks entirely to a bad turnover by Johnny Boychuk. The entire Bruins roster, meanwhile, fired five pucks that reached Jon Quick, none of which eluded the Connecticut native. In case you're a little groggy, yes, you read correctly: Boston was outshot by Jeff Carter in the first period.

The Kings struck twice in the first two minutes of the middle frame, prompting Claude Julien to replace Tuukka Rask with Chad Johnson. Eight minutes later, the B's made it a two-goal game when Matt Fraser picked up his second goal (and point) of the season, launching a laser past Quick to make it 3-1.

The score remained the same until midway through the third, when Kings captain Dustin Brown chose to shoot on a 2-on-1 and rifled a snapper past Johnson. Justin Florek's first NHL goal cut L.A.'s lead back to two with 2:13 to go, as he tipped a shot from the point by Boychuk past Quick, but that was all she wrote in this one.

Records: Los Angeles 27-13-5, 59 points; Boston 28-14-2, 58 points

Key Play of the Game: Dougie Hamilton went to exit the box just a tad too soon and was whistled for "interference" after touching the puck before his feet actually exited the sin bin. The Kings scored 20 seconds later to make it a 2-0 game in the opening minute of the second period. 

Connolly's Commendations: Moving on...

Connolly's Critiques: So much for Adam McQuaid having a bounce-back game. No. 54's been on the ice for seven of the last nine goals Boston has allowed. Yeeouch!

Johnson came in on relief of a struggling Rask for the third time in 10 games. No bueno, mis amigos.

Would've been nice of the B's to show signs of life prior to the third period. Outside of a McQuaid fight with Kyle Clifford and, of course, Fraser's goal, Boston had nothing going for them but turnovers and defensive lapses in the first 40 minutes of play. They entered the third being outshot 27-12.

Notes: L.A. finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while Boston was 0-for-3. ... The Kings won 35-of-63 faceoffs on the night. Ryan Spooner was 0-for-5. Greg Campbell was 4-for-13. ... On a scale of 1-10, this game's entertainment value was a rotten banana. Cut me some slack, the notes section deserves some occasional nonsense. You're probably not even reading this far down the page anyways.

Final Thoughts: The Bruins are neck-and-neck with the Penguins for the distinction of being the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, which makes this road trip to date all the more frustrating. Boston's been beaten up by the best of the West. Handedly. Does that have any bearing on if they wind up reaching the Stanley Cup Final? Not particularly, but this was a big chance for Boston to prove they're more than just the beasts of the East. So far, they've failed to do so.

Next: The Bruins will conclude their California road swing Saturday in San Jose.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com