Bruins end road trip with shutout loss
LOS ANGELES — Last night at the Staples Center, the Bruins played their 24th game of the season without center Marc Savard, their most gifted playmaker. Savard’s absence contributed to a sluggish Boston attack, which barely tested Jonathan Quick. The former UMass goalie stopped all 34 shots to backstop his team to a 2-0 blanking of the Bruins.
“I think he played well,’’ Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Quick. “At the same time, I don’t think we generated as much offense as we normally do. Give the other team credit for that. I think they did a pretty good job of minimizing that. At the same time, I don’t think we got many screens in front of him. He saw a lot of those pucks. He’s a pretty good goaltender, so he’s going to stop those. We didn’t do a very good job of getting enough traffic in front.’’
Savard, sidelined because of a moderate concussion, had just been finding his offensive touch before his injury Saturday. Before the 6-2 win over Colorado, Savard had logged four assists in his last five games, his best offensive output of the season.
But with Savard unavailable, the Bruins had to shuffle their lines. Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton, the No. 1 line at the start of the season when Savard was still fighting post-concussion syndrome, was reunited last night.
Not for long.
Late in the second period, with Horton (one shot) continuing his ghost-like ways, Julien was forced to reconfigure. Julien replaced Horton (one goal in his last 19 games) on the No. 1 line with Michael Ryder, who started the night on the third line alongside Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin. The moves didn’t work, as none of the four lines did much to pressure Quick or get any second looks on goal.
“I think we need some guys to step up and start scoring some goals for us,’’ Julien said. “Not just rely on the same people all the time. At one point, you can get away with it for so long. There’s some guys who have been dry for some time now. We need them to step up. If we’re going to win some of these kinds of games, that’s what we need.’’
The Kings scored the game’s opening goal in the first period on the power play. Zdeno Chara was sent off for hooking Anze Kopitar at 10:16 of the first. Thirty-four seconds later, the Kings pulled ahead by a goal. Drew Doughty, manning the right point, made a crisp cross-ice pass to Jarret Stoll. The Los Angeles forward fired a one-timer that bounced off traffic. Ryan Smyth, who was stationed in his usual net-front real estate, leaned into Tim Thomas and whacked the rebound past the goalie to give his club a 1-0 lead.
At 3:30 of the third, rookie Andrei Loktionov doubled LA’s advantage. After Andrew Ference coughed up the puck at the offensive blue line to Kopitar, the Kings’ center went the other way on an odd-man rush. Thomas stopped Dustin Brown’s shot, but Loktionov popped in the rebound.
“The first one, Ryan Smyth did a great job screening,’’ said Thomas (32 saves). “The second one, they threw the puck from the side of the net. I tried to put the rebound where I thought it should go. It just landed on their stick because they had a guy at the back door. The other stuff, where I could see pucks and see the play developing, I was able to stop those.’’
The Bruins were hoping that Patrice Bergeron, who entered the night with eight goals and seven assists in the last 10 games, could assume some of Savard’s offense. Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Mark Recchi have been the team’s best two-way line. Last night, the threesome combined for just four shots.