Kings beat Bruins 4-3 in shootout
Monday, 06.18.2012 / 10:36 PM
BOSTON -- This much is known about Terry Murray's pencil: it has an eraser.
From the start of training camp, Murray talked about how he had ``penciled'' a goalie schedule through the end of December, a schedule designed around getting more rest for No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick
this season and getting backup Jonathan Bernier
into at least one game per week.
Now, Quick is forcing Murray to rethink that strategy.
After a gutsy, often brilliant effort Saturday night, when the Kings blew all of an early three-goal lead but beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout at TD Garden, Murray said he would think about making changes to the goalie plan that he had carefully crafted during the summer.
``It's getting close to that,'' Murray said. ``I might wait for that decision (until) after we get back from this road trip.''
Bernier has been in goal for four of the Kings' six losses so far. His play can best be described as adequate, but that's in sharp contrast to the way Quick has played for most of this season. Quick now has an 11-2-0 record, a 1.82 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.
And even though Quick allowed three goals to the Bruins, he turned in, unquestionably, one of his strongest efforts of the season. The Kings allowed a season-high 41 shots on goal to the Bruins, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit early in the second period and nearly pulled off the win.
They would have pulled it off, if not for Quick, who faced enormous pressure for 65 minutes but still had enough in the tank to turn in a flawless shootout performance. Quick stopped all six Boston shooters, and the Kings' Michal Handzus
beat Boston goalie Tim Thomas in the sixth round.
``It's huge,'' Handzus said. ``We said it before the game. It's a great challenge for us. It's the first adversity we've had this season, and it's how we grow as a team. I thought we didn't play as well, but we stuck with it. It's a tough game, back to back, three in four, but I thought in the first two periods we were moving good. In the third, they came out hard, but I thought the guys stuck to it. We stuck to the system and it's huge. I think this two points is huge for us right now.''
Handzus had his second shootout-winning goal of the season, and helped the Kings end their three-game losing streak, but afterward, all of the buzz centered around Quick.
``He's great,'' Handzus said. ``Right from the first game of the preseason, he's great. He feels confident and we feel confident when he's in there. Obviously this game was pretty much his game, and that's what you need from your goalie. He stole the game, especially a back-to-back game. You need the goalie to have stole the game, and he stole it for us.''
Typically humble and deflective of praise when asked to assess his game, Quick immediately turned to flaws in his game that he needs to correct, but there weren't many on Saturday. At one point, Quick even had his mask knocked off by a slap shot, but barely budged.
``That's a good (Boston) team over there,'' Quick said. ``It's a tough building to come into, playing back to back. We did give up a three-goal lead, which is, I feel, unlike us, but at the end of the day we got the two points. We found a way to battle back and get the win.''
One win, two points and quite a few frayed nerves. The Kings seemed comfortably on their way to victory after Brad Richardson
scored 57 seconds into the game, Handzus scored 11-plus minutes into the first period and Jarret Stoll
scored 2:50 into the second period for a 3-0 lead.
The Bruins never stopped skating and pressuring the Kings, though, and eventually the persistence paid off. Patrice Bergeron's goal with 6:16 left in regulation tied the game, and the Kings had to hold on for dear life in the third period, during which they were outshot 17-8.
One night after a disappointing loss in Buffalo, the Kings once again went 0-for-5 on the power play and allowed a power-play goal, but this time they held on to even their road-trip record to 1-1.
``It's a big win for us, two points, and that's really, at the end of the day, all that matters,'' Kings captain Dustin Brown
said. Considering the situation that we're in, with travel and back-to-backs and losing three in a row, it doesn't matter how we got it done. We got it done, and now we can focus on the next game.''
That game is Monday in Ottawa, and Quick had already been scheduled to start that game. Murray, though, has already announced Bernier as his starter for Wednesday's game in Montreal, which is very close to Bernier's hometown in Quebec.
Given his admission that he would consider altering his goalie plan going forward, Murray was asked if he would consider giving that start to Quick instead.
``No, I don't want to,'' Murray said. ``I would. I'm here to win games, so if that's what I decided to do, I would have no hesitancy in doing it, but I don't have any plans to do it right now.''
For the moment, at least, Quick is giving Murray a good problem to have. Quick put on a flawless display in the shootout, easily stopping all six Bruins shooters. For the most part, Quick looked just as calm during the storm that the Bruins threw at him in regulation.
Thomas, who entered the game with the top save percentage in the NHL, allowed three goals on the first nine shots he faced but also had a handful of big saves and finished with 23 saves.
``That's a hard game here tonight,'' Murray said. ``You've got a team that was sitting here last night, watching our game in Buffalo. We were traveling, we've got three (games) in four nights and the guys really dug in. That's the bottom line, is that you get the two points.
``Boston is a heck of a hockey club. They do a lot of good things. They've got depth, they've got balance, and they showed it in the third period. Quick was the answer for us. He played extremely well, made some huge stops out there. There was a lot of pressure from the Bruins, but we hung in and finally got it in the shootout.''
Murray made a mild lineup tweak before the game. Seeking more balance, Murray swapped left wingers, moving Kyle Clifford
to the third line and Richardson to the fourth line.
Murray said he wanted more balance, and the ability to play his fourth line more in a back-to-back games situation, and the move was justified less than a minute into the first period.
The Kings got off to a good start, scoring 57 seconds into the game. After Quick made a brilliant point-blank save at one end, Trevor Lewis
did a good job of holding the puck in the neutral zone and feeding it ahead to Richardson. Richardson had a step and beat Thomas to the top far corner. Kevin Westgarth
also got an assist for his first NHL point.
Just moments after they killed off a Boston power play, the Kings took a 2-0 lead. Davis Drewiske
's shot from the left point was blocked in front of the net, but Handzus picked up the rebound and flicked a high wrist shot past Thomas to make it 2-0 for the Kings with 8:43 remaining in the first period. Lewis picked up his second assist.
The Kings took a 3-0 lead, 2:50 into the second period, on their ninth shot on goal of the game. Justin Williams
forced a neutral-zone turnover, then played a give-and-go game with Stoll. Williams eventually passed to Stoll in the slot, and Stoll scored for his 100th career NHL goal. Rob Scuderi
also got an assist.
The three-goal lead lasted less than two minutes, though, as Blake Wheeler's close-range shot, after a scramble in front of the Kings' net, sneaked past Quick at the near post at the 4:30 mark to cut the Kings' lead to 3-1.
Boston pulled within one with a goal in a delayed-penalty situation with 8:03 remaining in the second period. Quick made the save on Shawn Thornton's shot from the top of the left circle, but Gregory Campbell picked up the rebound and scored to pull the Bruins within 3-2.
The Bruins spent most of the third period pressuring the Kings, and completed their three-goal rally with a power-play goal with 6:16 remaining. Wheeler centered to Bergeron, who skated in from the right circle and beat Quick with a high wrist shot to make it a 3-3 game.
After a scoreless overtime, Handzus ended the shootout in the sixth round.
``I don't really tell myself, before, what I'm going to do,'' Handzus said of his shootout strategy. ``I like to just go in and watch the goalie and just go from there. I've got a couple moves that I can rely on, but I always decide just right in the moment. A lot of guys tried moves, and he was pretty deep in the net, so I decided that would be a good way to shoot.''