What We Learned from Bruins' 2-1 loss to Kings
What We Learned from Bruins' 2-1 loss to Kings
By Joe Haggerty
Here’s What We Learned from the Bruins’ 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Saturday night.
1. Can't compete out West
The Bruins just aren’t at the talent level, size and strength level, heaviness level or depth level as the California teams. The Bruins played a pretty good final 40 minutes against the Kings this weekend, but didn’t have enough to even push the game into overtime and salvage a point from the trip. They competed, emptied the effort tank and vastly outshot the Kings in the final 40 minutes, but the goals, production and results didn’t come along with it.
So the Bruins finished with zero points on the three game road trip through California, and went 0-for-6 against those teams this season while getting outscored by a 29-11 margin. They simply aren’t on the level of those teams, and it continues to raise questions as to how far this team will go once the playoffs get going. Maybe they can advance past the first round in the fight match-up, but does anybody really believe the Bruins can beat a good team in a best-of-seven playoff series come April and May? The last three games were more evidence for the answer being “no” to that question.
2. Randell makes an impact
Tyler Randell just makes things happen when he’s in the lineup. He isn’t the most skilled and he certainly isn’t going to be a top-6 forward in the league, but Randell has scored six goals in 27 games while averaging just 6:59 of ice time per game. The six goals on 18 shots on net makes for an amazing 33 percent shooting percentage, and some people – meaning the egghead advanced stats people that rely solely on numbers for every hockey opinion they spout -- would say it also means that Randell has just been very lucky. But Randell has scored goals this season and in a handful of NHL preseason games he’s had a chance to play in over the last few years, and that is not all luck, or good fortune. That’s a willful, hardnosed player that finds a way to impact the game when he’s in the lineup, and knows how to finish off a scoring chance despite being a fourth line player for life. The six goals, along with the heavy, tough style that Randell brings to the table, are mounting evidence that he should be in the lineup a little more often along with a player in Noel Acciari that is tough to play against.
The King of the Selke Mountain
In the one-on-one battle for Selke Trophy candidate supremacy, Patrice Bergeron dominated Anze Kopitar for long stretches of the game. Bergeron and Kopitar were matched up most of the night, and Bergeron finished with 10 shot attempts and 17-of-26 face-off wins most against the LA Kings center. Meanwhile Kopitar had one shot on net, two giveaways and lost 14-of-21 draws mostly against No. 37.
Obviously the Kings won the war in earning the two points in regulation, but last night was also Exhibit A about why Kopitar isn’t in Bergeron’s class for things like the Selke Trophy despite plenty of media hype for the obviously excellent Kings two-way center. Bergeron is still King of the Selke Mountain until further notice.
*Jonathan Quick stopped 27-of-28 shots including 10 saves in the third period while the Bruins furiously tried to push for overtime, and made two excellent saves on Brad Marchand scoring chances earlier in the game as the B’s kept pushing at them.
*Patrice Bergeron finished with 10 shot attempts, won 17-of-26 face-offs and was a constant puck possession machine against the Kings in 21:33 of ice time in a prideful performance that showed he really wanted some points out of this game.
*I have put Luke Schenn on blast plenty of times over the years as one of the most overrated players in the NHL, but he was solid on Saturday night: he assisted with the point blast on Tanner Pearson’s tipped goal, blocked four shots and threw four big hits in 18:18 of ice time.
*No shots on net in 16:05 of ice time for Jimmy Hayes in a big, heavy game against the Kings. These are the kinds of games when the 6-foot-6 winger has to show up the most, but instead he was mostly invisible vs. the Kings after being scratched against the Ducks. Ouch.
*Bruins went 0-for-3 on the road trip and were outscored 9-2 by the three California teams in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. While they were mostly closer than the three blowout losses on home ice, the B’s are also very clearly fighting out of their weight class against the best of the West.
*Loui Eriksson had plenty of chances in his 21:19 of ice time, but couldn’t get shot on net during a partial breakaway at one point in the second period, and then missed wide on an open rebound attempt right at the end of the period that would have been a giant momentum-swinger. He also couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone in the closing seconds of the third period with Tuukka Rask pulled, and the Kings scrambling to close out Boston. Eriksson just doesn’t come through enough in these heavy, playoff-style games, and that’s why I think the Bruins would be foolish to pay him top dollar on a new contract.