After three games in seven days out west and a day of cross-country travel, the Boston Bruins were far from surprised with a sluggish start Tuesday night.
The Bruins still were able to pull out a shootout 4-3 win against the New York Islanders and finally can settle into the comforts of home for another week. Thursday’s second game of a five-game homestand sees the Los Angeles Kings visit Boston.
“We were set up to fail,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “There’s a couple of games every year where you look like you should have success, and there’s games where it looks like it’s going to be a real battle. … It (was) such a gutsy effort by our group to will themselves against a really good team.”
Boston saw 2-0 and 3-2 leads erased, as Jake DeBrusk delivered two goals and an assist — one point each at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded — before scoring in the shootout ahead of David Pastrnak’s eventual shootout winner.
Pavel Zacha has three assists over two games while skating in place of injured center David Krejci, including two against the Islanders.
Linus Ullmark stood tall in a 23-save effort as the Bruins extended their season-long home point streak to start the season at 16 games (15-0-1). Ullmark is 17-1-0, making him just the fifth goalie in NHL history to win at least 17 of his first 20 games in a season.
“(Ullmark is) probably the biggest reason why we’ve done so well,” DeBrusk said. “I think everyone’s been, for the most part, firing on all cylinders, but he’s been a rock back there. It’s something that gives you a lot of confidence as a player, knowing that he’ll make the stops at the right times.”
With Ullmark starting back-to-back games, Jeremy Swayman could be in line to start against the Kings in an effort to get back on track after he absorbed a last-minute loss at Arizona on Friday.
The Kings have gone 2-2-1 so far during their six-game road trip and look for a bounce-back effort after they were crushed late at Buffalo on Tuesday, allowing six third-period goals on 16 shots.
Both regulation losses on the Kings’ trip have come in shutout fashion, and two of the past four games have included back-to-back goal runs in under 30 seconds.
“I don’t know if I can pinpoint anything,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar said. “Bottom line is, we’ve got to figure it out and not allow that to happen.”
Kopitar had scored goals in back-to-back games and logged 10 points (six goals) over a span of seven contests prior to Tuesday’s shutout.
Los Angeles was just 3-for-6 on the penalty kill, allowing multiple power-play goals in a game for the seventh time this season.
“We took six penalties in the last half of the game, a lot of them in succession, only one in our zone,” Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said. “So, that tells you enough about our game.”
The Kings have won three of their last four games at Boston and earned points in five of six, though they would have to put a dent in the Bruins’ home dominance this season to keep up those marks.
Before Los Angeles won 3-2 in overtime at Boston on March 7 of last season, the Bruins won 7-0 at L.A. on Feb. 28. DeBrusk recorded a hat trick and four points in the victory.
–Field Level Media