Bruins

Toffoli beats o.t. buzzer, giving Kings 2-1 victory over Bruins

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Toffoli beats o.t. buzzer, giving Kings 2-1 victory over Bruins

BOSTON -- Call it a walk-off winner, a buzzer-beater, whatever you want. Tyler Toffoli simply had one of the most improbable game-winning goals.

Toffoli scored off a faceoff - his second goal of the game - just before time expired in overtime to give the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

With 0.9 seconds left and the puck dropped for a faceoff, Anze Kopitar won the draw back to Toffoli, who unloaded a shot that beat Tuukka Rask to the far post from the top of the right circle, stunning the Bruins and the TD Garden Crowd that seemed ready for a shootout.

"It was right in my wheelhouse and I got all of it," Toffoli said.

The clock had been reset by the referees from 0.4 to 0.9 before the faceoff after an icing by the Bruins. Los Angeles coach John Stevens called timeout and set up the play.

"We just took the timeout and Johnny said this is what we're doing," Toffoli said. "Kopi got it back clean and I got it off as fast as I could."

The Kings' celebration was delayed by a replay review, but they mobbed Toffoli after it counted.

Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the Kings, who are off to their best start in franchise history at 9-1-1.

"You wonder how it could happen?" Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Boy, it would be tough to see if you could do it again if you tried it a hundred times."

Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins and Rask, playing his first game after missing the previous three with a concussion sustained in practice, stopped 28 shots.

"It's something that happens once in a blue moon," Marchand said. "Tough way to lose."

Kopitar knew it was a memorable goal and incredible execution of the play.

"I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon," he said. "I've never seen it in my hockey career to work like that."

In the closing minute of regulation, the Kings kept the puck in Boston's end for a lengthy stretch before Rask made a splendid glove stop on Alex Iafallo's wrist shot from the slot.

In the overtime, Quick made three big saves. He came across the crease to rob Charlie McAvoy, dropped to spoil Anders Bjork's partial breakaway and robbed McAvoy again in the closing minute.

Rask also made a few stellar stops - the best came on a close chance by Toffoli.

The Bruins made it 1-0 at 5:27 of the opening period when Marchand skated hard to the net, reached out and redirected McAvoy's pass from the left boards.

Just under four minutes later, Toffoli tied it for the Kings when he stole Torey Krug's backhanded clearing attempt, cut to the net and slipped a shot behind Rask.

Like most of the game, both teams tightened even more defensively in the second, limiting the scoring chances.

Rask had to make a couple of nice stops. The first came when he dropped to make a pad save on Andy Andreoff's bid from the edge of the crease.

With just under four minutes to play, Rask stopped Jake Muzzin's blast from the point and controlled Adrian Kempe's rebound bid despite losing his stick in a scramble.

The Bruins seemed determined to shoot high against Quick when they had chances, firing rising wrist shots.

Despite being held to very few chances in the second and only five shots on goal, Boston defenseman Paul Postma's shot appeared to graze the top of the cross bar late in the period.

NOTES: The Kings started 9-1-1 one other season - in 1980-81 with a loss and tie. ... Rask played his 400th career NHL game. ... Boston F Riley Nash was checked into the glass between the benches by Kempe and his face shield smacked into his face late in the opening period. He left the ice with a towel to his face, but returned in the second. ... Kings D Drew Doughty's next game will the 700th of his NHL career. ... Bruins C David Krejci missed his third straight with an undisclosed upper body injury.

UP NEXT

Kings: Play the finale of a six-game road trip Monday at St. Louis.

Bruins: At Columbus on Monday before three straight at home.

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Report: NHL asked that Marchand stop the licking

Report: NHL asked that Marchand stop the licking

The Bruins got a phone call from the NHL in which the league requested the team tell Brad Marchand to stop licking people after his Game 1 antics in the Toronto series, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

The item was No. 22 in Friedman's regular "31 Thoughts" column:

After Game 1 of the Toronto/Boston series, the Bruins got a, “We’d prefer if you could tell Brad Marchand to stop licking people” phone call from the NHL.

Marchand, the noted B's agitator, gave the Maple Leafs' Leo Komarov a lick on the face (he kissed him on the cheek earlier this season) after they tussled in the playoff opener. He explained that he thought Komarov "wanted to cuddle."

The Bruins open their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday after taking out the Leafs in seven games. We'll see if Marchand keeps his tongue to himself. 

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Bruins are ready for a 'formidable' foe in the second round vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Bruins are ready for a 'formidable' foe in the second round vs Tampa Bay Lightning

BOSTON – The Bruins have barely come down from the high of winning Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and they’ve already got to set their sights on an even bigger challenge waiting this weekend in Tampa Bay.

The Bruins will next face the Eastern Conference regular-season champion Tampa Bay Lightning, who just edged out the Black and Gold for the top spot in the East at the end of the regular season when Boston dropped their regular season finale against the Florida Panthers. 

“Well, they won the Eastern Conference. I think it’s equally a formidable if not even more so task [than the Maple Leafs]. Not a lot of holes in their lineup. We had some success in the regular season against them,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “We’re going to have to find a way to replicate that and probably be even better. We had pockets of our game in this past series that we know we need to improve upon, and it’s going to take our best effort from start to finish to play against Tampa. We’re a confident group to go in. We deserve to be here. We’re moving on and I’m sure they feel the same way.”

The good news is that the Bruins took three out of four games from the Lightning this season, and have fared very well against the Bolts over the last couple of seasons. Tuukka Rask, in particular, has been very strong against Tampa and finished with a .926 save percentage along with the three victories against them this season. 

The bad news for the Bruins is that they’re a much better team than the Toronto Maple Leafs with a better defense, a better goaltender and a more explosive array of experienced forwards including Steve Stamkos, Hart Trophy favorite Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson among others. Certainly, they’re going to need better than the .899 save percentage that Rask posted in the seven games series against the Maple Leafs, and they’re going to need more support scoring beyond a Bruins top line that will have their hands full against Victor Hedman the Tampa defense.  

“It’s going to be a battle. They were a top team all year. They compete very hard, have a ton of skill, and they have a lot of depth,” said Brad Marchand, who finished second among the Bruins with five points in the four games vs. Tampa this season behind only the six points from Torey Krug. “We’ll look at them a little bit more in the next few days, but we’re going to enjoy this one tonight.”

One area where the Bruins are going to be able to do some damage? The Tampa Bay penalty kill was 27th in the league this season, and they’ll be going up against a Bruins power play that scored on 31.8 percent (7-for-22) of their PP chances in the first round against a better Toronto penalty kill. That will be one area where the Black and Gold can do a lot of damage, but they clearly go into the second round series as the prohibitive underdogs. 

In all truthfulness, however, the Bruins are playing with house money right now. They took that next step by going from a return to the playoffs last season to winning a round and advancing deeper into the postseason with the second round date vs. the Bolts. Sure, they have Cup aspirations and the B’s will push as deeply as they can on their postseason run, but there will be little pressure on the Black and Gold at this point to win a best-of-seven series that they’re not expected to win against the favored Lightning. 

That’s not a bad spot to be in for the young, gritty and battle-hardened Black and Gold.

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