Sports your connection to The Boston Globe

Bruins snap out of it

After lousy start, they stun Kings

LOS ANGELES -- It's hard enough to play a road game under the best of circumstances but when you stake the home club to three goals in the opening period, your chances of a comeback are remote.

It can happen, however, as the Bruins proved last night. They held Los Angeles without a shot in the third period and scored a pair of goals 44 seconds apart late in regulation to earn an improbable 4-3 victory over the Kings at the Staples Center.

Rookie Patrice Bergeron pulled the Bruins even during a power play at 17:28 with his first NHL goal. Mike Knuble, reunited with Joe Thornton and Glen Murray on the top line, won it with a goal at 18:12.

Coach Mike Sullivan ripped his team during the first intermission, telling players their performance was unacceptable.

"I said a lot," said Sullivan. "I told the guys, `What is it going to take for us to figure out how you win in this league?' In my mind, it's no secret. The teams that are successful are teams that don't beat themselves. This is something we talk about every day. Taking undisciplined penalties is one of the easiest ways to beat yourself. I challenged them and told them, `This is a gut check. What's it going to take?' "

Knuble said the coach's message was the kick in the pants they needed.

"It's pretty much black and white," said Knuble. "When we stop taking penalties, we can play with anybody. I think we learned something. I don't know how dumb we are. It's almost like we are stupid, we have to realize we can't take penalties like that."

The Bruins displayed an appalling lack of discipline in an opening period dominated by the Kings. Los Angeles scored three power-play goals -- two by Luc Robitaille and one by Lubomir Visnovsky -- to take a 3-0 lead in the first 20 minutes. Two of the goals were scored during a two-man advantage. Boston gave the Kings seven power-play opportunities in the first period and Los Angeles generated 12 shots during the 11 minutes 26 seconds that the Bruins were shorthanded.

The Bruins continued racking up penalties in the second period. Marty Lapointe was called for boarding defenseman Tim Gleason, giving the Kings their eighth power play of the game after the two squared off. Another fight erupted between Nick Boynton and Ian Laperriere. At 6:19, center Sean Avery sparred with Thornton, prompting defenseman Jeff Jillson to the Bruins captain. Jillson received a game misconduct and Thornton was assessed a double minor for cross-checking and roughing, while Avery received just two minutes for roughing. With the Kings on yet another power play, Robitaille tried for the hat trick, ripping a shot from the right circle. But Felix Potvin, who had been on the far side of the crease, reacted by lunging to his left and snaring Robitaille's bid.

At 13:19, the Bruins got on the board as a result of hard work by the fourth line. Forward Sandy McCarthy took a pass from 18-year-old Bergeron and beat goalie Roman Cechmanek to the glove side with a forehand shot from the high slot. The goal inspired Boston and for the rest of the period, as the visitors kept pressure on the Kings. Boston outshot the Kings, 12-3, in the second period.

The Bruins pulled within 3-2 at 4:51 of the third. Brian Rolston, who had both of Boston's goals in Dallas, potted his third of the year one second after the club's power play expired when he drilled a slap shot from the point past Cechmanek.

Globe Archives Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months