It wasn't a bad game, necessarily, but the Los Angeles Kings didn't really do anything well enough to say they deserved a win on Monday. Based on one play, however, you can probably say that they deserved to lose. The Boston Bruins handed the Kings a 3-2 loss on Monday thanks to a third-period goal, but it was Brad Marchand's first-period stunner that really encapsulated the game.
We won't hold you in suspense for too long about what Marchand did, because the first twelve minutes didn't feature a lot of action. Unless you consider pucks bouncing around in front of the net and no one actually shooting them "action." LA's oft-criticized power play unit scored twice on Monday, so there was actually some hope that when David Krejci high-sticked Drew Doughty, the Kings might be able to take advantage. Instead, Brad Marchand scored a remarkable shorthanded goal, with some help from the Kings' defense.
First, Marchand got the puck at his own blue line and drove straight up the middle with Doughty defending. Doughty lost his stick, but after Marchand deked around the helpless Doughty, the loose stick actually prevented Marchand from getting his shot. Marchand was able to get the puck back at the left circle after a feeble clearing attempt by Jeff Carter, and when Kopitar slid to take away the shot, Marchand deked around him. Jake Muzzin was behind the net, Doughty was on the other side of the net, and Carter was frozen in front and couldn't block the shot in time. Marchand beat Jonathan Quick under the arm to finish off a goal that was either sensational or embarrassing.
Boston doubled their lead through Torey Krug, who had been hit forcefully and cleanly by Jordan Nolan just a couple minutes earlier. Milan Lucic had instigated a fight in response and gone to the box a couple minutes earlier, but the Bruins killed the penalty and got a power play thanks to a Robyn Regehr hook soon after. Zdeno Chara provided an (obviously) effective screen in front, and Krug blasted a shot past Quick. The period ended 2-0, and when Boston started off the second period with some solid scoring chances, the Kings were in danger of being totally taken out of the game.
A good shift by Los Angeles five minutes into the second turned things around. Jeff Carter hounded Johnny Boychuk into a turnover in the defensive zone, and Mike Richards picked up the puck and beat Matt Bartkowski around the back of the net. Willie Mitchell, of all people, drifted into the slot and converted a great feed from Richards past Chad Johnson. After the goal, the loose pucks in front continued, and both teams were occasionally managing to get shots off of them. Quick made a superb stop with the pad on Reilly Smith, while Matt Frattin was foiled by Johnson on a rebound at the other end. Chara had the best chance over the remainder of the period, hitting the post off of a perfect pass from Jarome Iginla on the power play.
After LA opened the third period with another useless power play, Quick made a great save point-blank on Gregory Campbell to keep the Kings within one. Jarret Stoll and Patrice Bergeron went off for roughing soon after, and when Johnny Boychuk hooked Anze Kopitar, a 4-on-3 opportunity worked out a bit better for the Kings. As it wound down, Drew Doughty led Mike Richards into the zone. Richards passed from the corner to Doughty at the opposing circle, who passed to Kopitar in the high slot, who passed to Carter at the other circle. Chad Johnson couldn't get across in time to prevent Carter from tying the game.
That lead lasted for 18 seconds. The Bruins were so impressed by Carter's goal that they tried a one-timer of their own, with similar results. Smith passed across to Marchand, and Quick couldn't get across in time either. The Kings now had eleven minutes to find another goal. Their best chance came just after Quick let a puck get behind him, and LA cleared out of the crease. Carter got the puck in the defensive zone, chipped along the boards, sped past Zdeno Chara, and set himself up for the type of driving wrist shot that he regularly scores on. Johnson made the save this time, though, and any chance the Kings had at getting a last-minute goal was spoiled when Muzzin took a necessary penalty to prevent an empty-netter.
The Kings ended up tied in shots, but with a decent advantage in shot attempts. So basically, they missed the net a lot. That's not very productive, and even though the Kings seem to regularly struggle against backup goaltenders, more shots on net might have made a difference. That was one problem, but there were two bigger problems: a defensive comedy of errors on Marchand's first goal, and a post-goal letdown on Marchand's second. Those, thankfully, are fixable. Let's see if they can rebound tomorrow against Columbus.