A defining game. After three consecutive losses, this one meant more than most.
The Kings started out on fire. In the first, Brad Richardson skated into the offensive zone with three Bruins watching and one Boychuk defending and sniped a goal past Thomas, glove side, to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. You could call it a fourth line goal but in my book, it was all top six skill. The Kings took a 2-0 lead with Lewis working and stick handling the puck along the boards to Drewiske who, without hesitation, rifled a shot on net. Michael Handzuuuuuuuuz was there for the rebound and blasted it home from the left hash marks. The first ended 2-0.
The second saw the Kings continue in control. A Bruins’ turnover led to a beautiful play with Williams (top of the right circle) to Stoll who made a slap-pass (that is a pass that resembles a slap shot for those keeping track) back to Williams at the bottom of the same circle and back to Stoll below the hash marks in shooter’s heaven. Jarret one timed it past Thomas.
Kings up 3-0.
The Bruins came back. They scored a pin ball goal that deflected off Matt Greene and right to Blake Wheeler who put it in from a sharp angle below the right circle. Quick could not get back in position in time. Campbell made it 3-2 on a questionable rebound by Quick and the second frame ended 3-2. In the third, after Boston had control and momentum for what felt like 90 minutes, they tied the score 3-3 on Bergeron’s one timer down low.
Was I worried?
The third ended 3-3 and overtime proved fairly even with both teams having decent scoring opportunities.
Off to the shootout we went. For those who may ask whether every Kings v. Bruins game in the past few seasons has gone to shootout, you are not that far off. You would also be correct in stating that Jonathan Quick’s record against the Bruins is perfect and Tim Thomas hasn’t won puck against us…what good are trends if they don’t carry forward.
It took six shooters, count them, six until none other than money himself in shootouts, Michael Handzus, snapped a wrist shot past Thomas to finish him. As a goalie, I will tell you that Handuz’s shot is wicked. He takes the wrist shot while the puck is ahead of his body on the left side. He doesn’t have the traditional wheel house back and close. The “snap” of the shot is therefore very hard to read coming off the stick because the goaltender doesn’t expect the release at that time but a second later (when it should be pulled back and in) The result? You saw it tonight. A very delayed reaction. In fact, I will bet if you look at the replay, Tim Thomas didn’t even react to the shot until it was already in the net. Check it out. Tell me if I am wrong.
What does this victory mean? It’s more than two points. It was a gut check game. It was a test of character, will and that extra gear that is so often necessary to grind out the W in the post season. The playoffs teach young teams like the Kings what it takes to win. Games like this one show them that they can and will when that time comes again in April through June.
Raise your fists in the air. Scream it.
Categories: L.A. Kings News