The good news? The Bruins still haven’t lost in regulation on home ice this season.
The bad news? Their latest TD Garden showing, a Thursday night shootout loss to the Kings, was about as frustrating a night as the Bruins have had in their own building this season.
Not only did the Bruins blow a two-goal lead, but they also whiffed on numerous power-play opportunities to extend the lead and slam the door on the Kings before they invited trouble, but the Bruins also found themselves in penalty hell. They even somehow managed to lose a shootout that started with back-to-back goals from their shooters. When is the last time that’s happened? Good question! I couldn’t even tell ‘ya.
These nights are going to happen, of course, and the Bruins seemingly warned us about them every time we tried to heap endless praise on them throughout their white-hot start to the season. But that doesn’t make ’em any less frustrating, which the Bruins outright admitted following this contest.
Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars of the game from a maddening one at TDG…
Dec 15, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) shoots the puck while Los Angeles Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson (44) defends during the first period at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)
The return of David Krejci to the B’s lineup Thursday night may have bumped Taylor Hall back down to the Black and Gold’s third line, but that didn’t stop Hall from producing at a clip that’s made him the best third liner in hockey.
With the sides deadlocked in a 0-0 match into the second period, a delayed penalty and feed from Matt Grzelcyk was all Hall needed to fire up an absolute rocket through the Kings’ Pheonix Copley.
Hallsy from up high. 🚀 pic.twitter.com/JP4pFcxJjJ
I mean, come on.
The goal was the lone, tangible highlight of Hall’s night, but Hall certainly deserved more in this one, as this was a performance that saw Hall put LA defenders on their heels throughout the night. From a first-period breakaway that had the entire King bench sweating to a series of third-period power-play looks that very well could have gone, Hall was Boston’s best three-zone forward in this contest.
With the goal, Hall now has seven goals and 14 points in his last 14 games, and is up to 23 points on the season (second-most among all Boston skaters). Hall’s 19 points at even-strength play are also second-most among all Boston skaters, and will begin Friday as the 41st-most among all NHL forwards this season.
Oct 15, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Adrian Kempe (9) during a game at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)
Down two and throughly dominated in the middle of the second period, the Kings looked like dead men walking when the third period began.
But a goal from Adrian Kempe midway through the third brought them to life, and Kempe’s game-tying goal during a five-on-three sequence was the extender they needed to force overtime and ultimately grab two points.
ADRIAN. KEMPE. TIES. IT. UP. pic.twitter.com/PLoQQYswzr
In a night that saw Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar bottled up throughout the majority of the night, Kempe was everything the Kings needed to turn this game upside down.
And in addition to his two goals, Kempe was credited with four individual scoring chances at all-situation play (second-most on the Kings), and won four of his six battles at the dot.
Dec 15, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley (29) makes a save in front of Boston Bruins forward Jake Debrusk (74) during the third period at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)
Hey Dad, I can’t see real good, is that
Bill Shakespeare 2012 Jonathan Quick over there?
No, it’s just veteran minor-leaguer and new Kings backup Pheonix Copley.
In net for his fourth appearance of the 2022-23 NHL season after he was summoned to Los Angeles to replace the recently-waived Cal Petersen, Copley put forth what you’d have to consider a career night, with 33 saves on 35 shots faced in a shootout win over the NHL-best Bruins.
And Copley certainly had some big-onion saves on the Bruins over the course of that 65-minute performance, too. So much so that the Bruins themselves had a feeling that the Kings were going to tie things up when Copley did not allow a goal during the B’s third-period power-play opportunities.
Credited with a perfect 10-for-10 line on high-danger shots faced in this win (numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick), Copley also allowed the Kings to nab the extra point with five straight stops on Boston shooters in the shootout. Outdueling Linus Ullmark in a shootout? No easy feat for any goaltender.
With the 33-save performance, Copley boosted his 2022-23 save percentage up from .884 to .901, and lowered his goals against average from 3.33 to 2.94.
Death, taxes, and the Bruins making a depth netminder look like Ken Dryden.
Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Bruins.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.
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