Boston Bruins week 4 roundup: California Love edition

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 28: Brad Marchand
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 28: Brad Marchand /
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After compiling 3 out of 4 points in the previous week, the Boston Bruins came into this week trying to keep racking up the points.  Unlike last week however, the Bruins had much stiffer competition than they had last week.

On Thursday night, the Boston Bruins welcomed back a couple of old faces in Joe Thornton, the 3-day Bruins goaltender Martin Jones, and the San Jose Sharks. Saturday saw the Bruins face off against a scorching hot Los Angeles Kings squad.

On a quick injury note, Tuukka Rask was cleared to play on Thursday, although he backed up Anton Khudobin against the Sharks. He finally made his return to game action against LA on Saturday.  But as one key starter returns, another one drops.  David Krejci, after being a late scratch last Saturday against Buffalo, missed both games this week and it is unknown when he will return to action.

Now for the on ice action, here we go.

Game 1: San Jose Sharks

Looking to rebound from their collapse against Buffalo, the Bruins welcomed the Sharks to Boston, and played arguably their best game of the season.  Shockingly, it was the best defensive game they played, and Khudobin was in goal, not Rask.

About halfway through the first period, the Bruins were shorthanded after a Sean Kuraly delay of game penalty. On the penalty kill, David Backes led a break and put a shot on goal, which Jones couldn’t handle cleanly. Rookie Danton Heinen quickly regathered the puck and put it by Jones, scoring his first career NHL goal giving the Bruins an early 1-0 lead.  Neither team could find the back of the net and the period ended 1-0 Bruins.

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 26: Danton Heinen
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 26: Danton Heinen /

In the second, the Sharks equalized 10:40 into the period, scoring on the power play, after ANOTHER Kuraly penalty.  Remaining unfazed, the Bruins regained the lead about 3 minutes later, when Heinen scored again, potting one from and extremely tight angle right around the goal line.  The period would end with the Bruins up 2-1.

Heading into the third period, the Bruins were hanging on to a one goal lead and needed a strong performance to finish the game off.  That is what they did.  The Bruins held the Sharks goalless in the final frame, and were able to withstand a frantic final few minutes. These tough minutes included fighting off a 6 on 4 advantage for the Sharks when Brandon Carlo took a slashing penalty late in the third.  The Bruins emerged victorious and were headed towards a massive showdown with the LA Kings two days later.

Full Recap here.

Game 2: Los Angeles Kings

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Rounding out the home stand, the B’s hosted the LA Kings for the first time this season.  The team came out fast, scoring first, courtesy of Brad Marchand who slid one past goalie Jonathan Quick.  A nifty feed from Charlie McAvoy gave Marchand the great scoring opportunity, and he didn’t squander the chance.  The lead would not last however, as Torey Krug attempted a terrible pass out of the defensive zone. It didn’t connect and Tyler Toffoli easily tied the game at 1.

Entering the second period, both teams were looking to take the lead.  But both teams missed chances late in the period, and the game was still tied heading into the third period.  In the final frame neither team could find the back of the net, as Rask and Quick were both on the top of their games.  The horn sounded and just like last Saturday, the Bruins headed to OT.

In the extra period, both teams had penalties committed by key players.  The Bruins lost Patrice Bergeron for two minutes, while the Kings lost star defenseman Drew Doughty.  Those penalties were both killed off, and it appeared we were headed for a shootout.   That’s where it all fell apart for the Bruins.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 28: The Los Angeles Kings celebrate after Tyler Toffoli /

Krug iced the puck with .9 seconds left.  The Kings pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, and the Bruins didn’t have a true centerman on the ice with Krug, Bjork and Pastrnak on the ice for a crucial draw.  Pasta lost the faceoff to Anze Kopitar and Toffoli quickly one timed the puck past Rask for a shocking and sudden end.

Full Recap here.

The Road Ahead

The Bruins head out to Columbus on Monday for a quick one game roadtrip, before heading back to Boston to face the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.  The week ends when the Washington Capitals come to the TD Garden on Saturday night.

Next: Bruins loss to LA still a win of sorts

Predictions

In my last roundup I had the Bruins going 2-0-0 this week, beating the Sharks in regulation and beating the Kings in OT. SO close it hurts.  This week they have some tough opponents in Columbus, Washington and the red-hot Golden Knights.  After a pretty successful road trip, I can see the Bruins going 2-1-0, losing to Columbus on Monday night, avenging their defeat against Vegas from earlier in the year, and dispatching the Caps to cap off another successful week for the Bruins.