GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand continued the mother of all hot streaks with his sixth goal in the last four games, and his 12th goal in the last 18 games while piling up the points and game-breaking scores. The Nose Face Killah’s skill and determination on the opening shorthanded score – when he faked out Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar before sliding a puck through the five hole of Jonathan Quick – that gave the Bruins a big jolt of energy that carried them through the rest of the game. It’s hard to believe this is the same player that struggled mightily in the first six weeks of the season, but Marchand once again leads the Bruins with 16 goals on the season.
BLACK EYE: Dustin Brown had zero shots in 11:38 of ice time and got blown up twice on hits from Kevan Miller as a virtual non-factor in the loss to the Bruins. Brown is the kind of player that’s an emotional spark plug for the Kings, and it looked like his battery was running low against Boston. When Miller threw a shoulder into Brown and drove him into the boards in the corner in the final two minutes of Monday afternoon’s game, it was the ultimate “today isn’t going to be your day” statement from one heavy hockey club to the other one.
TURNING POINT: The Kings managed to steal back a measure of momentum when Jeff Carter fired a power play goal past Chad Johnson on a bogus penalty call on Johnny Boychuk, but it was extremely short-lived. On the next shift Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith went out, drove the puck deep into the Los Angeles end and then watched Smith feed Marchand for a sweet one-time score from the right face-off circle. The game-winning Marchand goal arrived just 18 seconds after the Kings had tied the game at 2-2, and effectively gut-punched them for good.
HONORABLE MENTION: Kevan Miller was a physical force for the Bruins, and showed an ability to step up and play some important minutes for the Black and Gold in a tight hockey game. He led the Bruins with five registered hits, finished with 19:05 of ice time and had five generated shot attempts while making smart, safe plays with the puck in the offensive zone. His two pancake hits on Dustin Brown in the second and third period took one of the Kings’ most intense forwards, and turned him into a crash test dummy flying into the boards. That is Bruins hockey, and winning hockey in the playoffs.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of shorthanded goals for Brad Marchand after his beauty of a first period score, which leads all NHL players in the key special teams category.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I've gotta be honest...I'm pretty impressed with our team, and the way we handled these last three games.” –Claude Julien after taking five of six points vs. Dallas, Chicago and LA, and taking three of four points in back-to-back games against the Hawks and Kings.