The Los Angeles Kings are no longer in last place in the Western Conference Pacific Division after a 4 - 3 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden Tuesday night. Anze Kopitar scored shoulder side on Tuukka Rask to end the game despite the Bruins blowing two breakaway chances right before the goal. Jonathan Quick was the key making 37 saves preventing the Bruins from what should have been an easy win in front of their hometown crowd. The Bruins have now lost three straight games at home but are still miraculously second place overall in the Eastern Conference. The Kings stand at 15 - 18 - 1 as the Bruins stumble to 21 - 7 - 7.
The game began with the Bruins with rockets on their skates, shooting everything they had on J. Quick but denied each shot. The Bruins were called for too many men on the ice, which led to the first power play of the game. The Bruins kept the puck at the Kings end for most of the power play, however, the Kings would score at the 1:17 mark as Blake Lizotte tipped it past T. Rask assisted by Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter to give the Kings the lead. J. Quick would continue to stop each shot and smother rebounds after any defensive breakdowns. Kings, Kyle Clifford would make a costly mistake, going into the penalty box for interference on Chris Wagner which gave the Bruins their first power play of the game. Danton Heinen was at the right place at the right time as the puck tipped off his skate to tie the game up at 1. The referees would review the goal making sure the puck was not kicked in but within seconds, the referee signaled good goal. To end the first period, the assist went to Brad Marchand (51 points) and David Pastrnak (49 points).
Trevor Lewis called for a tripping penalty to put the Kings on a sour note at the start of the 2nd period. Were the Bruins on a power play? It was the Kings, Adrian Kempe who scored shorthanded on a breakaway that went 5 hole on T. Rask to give the Kings a 2-1 lead. As the game continued to get physical along with outstanding goaltending, Patrice Bergeron tipped one past J. Quick from a shot taken by Torey Krug at the blueline. The Kings would kill off another power-play with J. Quick playing like he did back in the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, keeping it 2 all at the end of the 2nd period. The Bruins came out guns blazing as Brandon Carlo got one in off J. Quick’s left pad at the 1:21 mark in the 3rd period assisted by Jake DeBrusk and D. Henein to give the Bruins their first lead of the game, 3 -2. Would it be possible for T. Rask to preserve the Bruins lead? Despite playing solid for the majority of the period the TD Garden went silent when the unthinkable happened. J. Quick was pulled for the extra attacker, Nikolia Prokhorkin found Matt Roy at the point blasting one past T. Rask to tie the game at 3. The home crowd was stunned as the Bruins were just 2:01 away from winning back-to-back games.
In overtime, the Bruins had multiple chances to put this game away. Incredibly, the Bruins did not capitalize on seperate breakaways, seconds apart, as J. Quick denied with authority shots by Anders Bjork and P. Bergeron. Seconds later, Kings captain, A. Kopitar would outskate B. Marchand to the puck and scored shoulder side of T. Rask to give the Kings the 4 - 3 overtime victory. J. Quick showed tremendous heart in this game showing he still has plenty more left in the tank in his 13th year in the NHL. As for the Bruins, the team should have had this game in the final minutes of regulation instead another game slip away by not playing 60 minutes of hockey. Their chances are bleak if they want to surpass the Washington Capitals for the Eastern Conference title if they continue playing this way. The Bruins still maintain a 10 point lead over the Buffalo Sabres in the Atlantic Division with the one point overtime loss. If T. Rask continues to struggle and the offense continues to play lukewarm they may be easy victims of a first-round playoff exit.