Bruins @ Kings Recap: Quick Earns Another Home Win, Shutout
LA continues to take care of business at home thanks to strong goaltending and juuuust enough offense.
There was only one goal in the first 59 minutes of Tuesday's game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Boston Bruins, but it was eventful! I swear!
How about we get the goal out of the way first? (GIF via @myregularface)
Pay close attention to the Bruins defenders, goaltender Niklas Svedberg, and even Jeff Carter. They're all looking in the wrong direction! This goal came after a decent spell of pressure, when a Brayden McNabb shot was blocked by Simon Gagne and came back to Anze Kopitar. Kopitar drags the entire defense in his direction, and no one on the ice noticed Tanner Pearson creeping down on the back side of the play. One perfect pass later and it's 1-0.
That goal came 16:20 into the first period, and those first 16 minutes had been divided up very neatly into two segments. During the first eight minutes, both teams sustained a good pace, but only the Bruins were actually getting shots on goal. The Kings had to content themselves with simply holding onto the puck. Starting with Mike Richards' long. harmless wrister at 8:02, the Kings proceeded to get 12 of the next 13 shots and completely flip the ice. Granted, a lot of that was due to consecutive Boston penalties that gave LA 3:30 of PP time. That included a delay-of-game puck-over-glass call on Patrice Bergeron, which I understand is a rarity on the level of a unicorn sighting.
Anyway, that power play helped put Boston on their heels even though the Kings couldn't convert, and the result was a 1-0 lead. The next goal didn't come until Tyler Toffoli put a 150-foot wrister into the empty net in the final minute. In between, the Kings certainly weren't bad, and the final possession numbers were largely a reflection of Boston playing catch-up in the final period. Having said that... I can't remember the last time Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin brought up the rear in possession; Doughty had his usual set of plays that made the crowd buzz, but the pair was otherwise off their game. No goals against, though!
Who was on their game? Brayden McNabb, for one. Aside from the assist, he played a smart game positionally, made a couple of his customary hip-checks, and was solid on the power play. Oh, and he had excellent possession numbers. Matt Greene did as well, though he had a larger percentage of offensive zone starts to work with. The fourth line also brought their game tonight, with Jordan Nolan earning a pre-faceoff cross-check from Milan Lucic for his trouble. Nolan got penalized for diving, which was odd... though I can't complain given that it was the only penalty on the Kings all night. How's that for discipline?
I've buried the lede, though. Svedberg was good in the Bruins' net; Jonathan Quick was better. He had one how-did-he-do-that save, going post-to-post when Torey Krug had seemingly the entire net to shoot at, but his glove save on Dougie Hamilton was perhaps even better upon further review. Quick finished the evening with 31 saves, and after that stop on Krug in the third period, it was pretty clear that Quick wasn't letting anything get by him.
The shutout was Quick's third of the year. More importantly: Quick is now leading the league in save percentage among goalies who have started at least half of their team's games. It's probably too early to let visions of a Vezina Trophy dance in our heads, but he has been thoroughly good this year.