Talking Points: Khudobin shuts down Kings in final 40 minutes
It certainly wasn’t the easiest night that Anton Khudobin is going to have, but it was a contest where the 30-year-old knew that his time with Boston might hinge on it moving forward. Well, Khudobin looked a little shaky in a first period where he gave up plenty of tough rebounds. But the Russian goalie made up for it with his play in the final 40 minutes where he became a brick wall of sorts, and made 15 saves in the second period as the Kings tried to unload their offense on the B’s. His best save was a flashy glove stop on a Drew Doughty chance from the slot during the second period barrage from the Kings, but he was strong overall once he got past some early game jitters.
Anze Kopitar finished with one shot on net, a minus-3 rating and lost 14-of-24 draws in a forgettable performance as one of the best players in the league. It just hasn’t been there for Kopitar this season like it’s been over the last few years for the Slovenian center, and the lack of focus and execution was there again for Kopitar on Thursday night. It wasn’t just him in the Kings loss, of course, but it had to be okay from a B’s perspective for a player like Kopitar to get outperformed by a true elite center like Bergeron. Bergeron wasn’t a world-beater, but he certainly got the last laugh against a player in Kopitar that ended his run as Selke Trophy winner last season.
The Bruins went into the third period holding a slim 2-1 lead and perhaps staring at an uphill battle while playing the second night of back-to-back games on the road in California. Instead the Bruins really stepped up the intensity in the final 20 minutes of the game and allowed just a paltry three shots on net to the Kings while protecting a one goal lead. Not only that, the Bruins scored a couple of late empty net goals to extend the lead and really take home the two points against the Kings after a physical, hard-fought battle on the ice. Make no mistake about it, the Bruins earned the win with their grinding, dedicated third period effort vs. LA.
David Pastrnak rebounded from a very quiet, underwhelming game against the Ducks with a much better effort against the LA Kings. Pastrnak scored the game-winner in the second period on a one-timer PP score where his stick actually snapped just as he released the shot. He finished with nine shot attempts in 16:53 of ice time for the Black and Gold. He was stronger on the puck, more explosive offensively and much more effective against another big, heavy opponent in the Kings, so it was good to see for the 20-year-old as he continues to try and keep pace with Brad Marchand for the team lead with 26 goals scored this season.
BY THE NUMBERS
26 – the number of goalless games in a row for Dominic Moore that was snapped when the fourth line center scored an empty net goal late in the third period of the win in Los Angeles
QUOTE TO NOTE
“It’s what we have to do. Guys just focused and it seems like right now everybody is focused. We needed a big bounce-back game and guys were determined tonight.” – Brad Marchand, to reporters in LA on Thursday night following the fifth win in six tries under Bruce Cassidy.