Final: Boston 3, Los Angeles 0
Recap: Rich Peverley got the B’s on the board early in the first, completing a nice cycle with Benoit Pouliot and Zach Hamill to put Boston up 1-0. After a lackluster opening frame, the Kings upped the ante in the second, but Tuukka Rask stood strong. In the meantime, Brad Marchand’s snap-shot, fresh off a clean faceoff win by Patrice Bergeron, beat Jon Quick to make it two-zip.
In the third, Marchand buried his second of the night and Rask stopped all 20 (!) shots he faced to seal the deal and give the Black and Gold a 3-0 victory.
Records: Boston 19-9-1, 39 points; Los Angeles 13-13-4, 30 points
Key Play of the Game: Late in the first period, the Kings had a golden opportunity to knot the game at one goal apiece when a penalty to David Krejci gave them a two-man advantage. They looked lifeless and did absolutely nothing, a sequence all-too indicative of their play throughout most of the contest.
Connolly’s Commendations: Can’t help but rave about Mr. Rask now, can we? The Finnish netminder stopped all 41 shots he faced this evening to earn his first shutout of the campaign. Dating back to a relief victory last time out against the Blue Jackets, Rask has made 52-straight saves without allowing a goal.
After being fined $2,500 for his slew foot on Matt Niskanen last week, Marchand played like he had something to prove. The undersized winger was buzzing all night, picking up two tallies on three shots to lead the way.
Kudos to the Bruins entire blueline, as the team emphatically stepped up as a whole with Zdeno Chara sidelined. Dennis Seidenberg logged a game-high 27:05 of ice time in the captain’s absence and blocked six shots. Johnny Boychuk was equally as effective, keeping five shot attempts by Los Angeles from reaching Rask.
Connolly’s Critiques: Another quiet night for Tyler Seguin, who has yet to regain the form that saw him win First Star of the Week over a month ago. The 19-year-old forward, who had just one shot on goal, now has just one tally in his last eight contests.
Shame on the Kings for playing such a dull, mistake-prone game for most of the night. Under interim coach John Stevens, one would’ve expected Los Angeles to come out flying in the wake of Terry Murray’s dismissal. Instead, they strolled out of the gate sleepwalking.
Notes: Dan Paille returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a mild concussion against the Panthers. Hamill picked up in the primary assist in his first game back with the big club after beign recalled on emergency basis. Rask’s last shutout came in a 1-0 win over Ottawa on March 1.
Final Thoughts: Rask made it look easy tonight, but the young netminder — and not just due to the obvious goose egg in the box score — looked more calm and composed than in any of his previous starts. That’s certainly good news for Rask and the Bruins, who now have two netminders with goals-against averages under 2.00.
Next: The Black and Gold will be right back at it tomorrow night, as they’ll travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators.