The Boston Bruins visited the LA Kings as both teams are in need of points with the playoffs approaching. Boston started backup goalie Anton Khudobin, who was steller in the 4-1 win. It was a lot closer than the score indicates as the Boston scored 2 empty net goals.
The first period was fierce and close until defenseman Jake Muzzin’s giveaway led to all star Brad Marchant’s 26th goal beating Budaj. The Kings tied it on Kevin Gravel’s first career goal on a nice pass from rookie Adrian Kempe on the power play. The Bruins took the lead for good with David Pasternak scoring his 26th goal of the year tying him with Marchant for the team lead off a broken stick slap shot that fooled Budaj making it 2-1. Budaj also played well making a point blank save on Pasternak in the third period to keep the game close.
Derek Forbort also had a giveaway that led to a goal but luckily it was removed on Coach Sutter’s coach challenge that the play was offsides.
The Kings had some other good chances but didn’t get any breaks with Kopitar and Brown each hitting goal posts. Those 2 players have struggled this year along with Gaborik scoring goals. Kopitar cannot seem to find the net with only 6 goals all season but he does lead the team in assists.
After the game, I interviewed Carter, Gravel and Sutter.
Jeff Carter was not making excuses as he said, “there is not lack of chemistry even with the coach changing up lines so everyone plays with everyone”. He also said, “ We are confident but it is time and we have to win. We have to keep working on it” when asked about the team’s struggles and how tough it has been.
Gravel said of his first goal, “It feels good and I just tapped it in. Special moment.” We have to bear down on our scoring chances with sustained pressure and bury our chances” when asked about the team and missed opportunities.
Sutter said, “We cannot chase the lead with that early goal. We need production from the top end of our lineup.” I asked him about the coaches challenge and he said, “ I knew the puck was out so that is obviously why we challenged it seeing the Bruins skates outside.”
Then headed over to the Boston locker room and Marchant said , “there was a bit of room there on the short side where I scored. It was a good game especially on a back to back as we had some great opportunities in the 3rd. We tried to make sure we had the numbers coming back on defense as they had some opportunities there but Dobi (Knudobin) was very strong tonight.
Khudobin was asked about the one goal game and he said “it was very close especially in the neutral zone and the defense played great in the third period. I have another opportunity to play today and the most important is to win. My confidence is good.” I asked him how he keeps prepared being the #2 goalie and he said “It is not easy and I have to focus it day by day. The coach said I am playing vs LA but otherwise I have to practice and work on weaknesses and strong side too.”
More at www.nhl.com/kings.com