The most goals allowed by the Bruins in a game since 2008.
The most shots allowed in a game by the Bruins since 1965.
That’s the 51-years-ago 1965, as in the year civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, were attacked by state troopers. Lyndon Johnson was president. Johnny Bucyk was in his prime at 29-years of age.
To say that former Bruins’ winger Milan Lucic and L.A. did a number on Boston Tuesday night at TD Garden in a 9-2 Kings’ victory would be quite the understatement.
“You’re here win a game, you know?,” Lucic said afterward with a chuckle, when asked if it felt awkward to beat his former mates so decisively. “You win by one, you win by seven it doesn’t matter, a win’s a win. I guess you can’t feel too bad. You come in here and try to get those bragging rights and have it over your former teammates. It was a full, team effort from the net out and I was glad to get that win.”
For the Bruins, it was a full, team effort for about 17-minutes, until Brad Marchand‘s penalty with between-the-opponent’s-legs stick-work put his team shorthanded. A few minutes later, a string of seven consecutive Kings’ goals began.
“Yeah it’s very clear, it’s an embarrassing game,” Marchand said flatly after the carnage was complete, with his Bruins forced to leave the once-friendly Garden confines to the tune of the boo-bird serenade that rained down from the remaining fans. “Very frustrating. Those games can’t happen.”
“It is embarrassing and it’s unacceptable,” said goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was mercifully pulled from the contest with the game at a 5-1 margin in the second period. “We were taking steps forward and thought we fixed things, and then we do something like this. I thought we were prepared to play, thought we played pretty good in the first [period]. All of a sudden they got those two goals quickly there and it kind of deflated us and we never recovered.”
This particular episode of DeflateGate featured Bruins’ defenseman Kevan Miller in the crosshairs of the first three L.A. tallies. A Jeff Carter power-play goal went off Miller’s stick and in. Just over a minute later, Marian Gaborik got loose in the low slot with Miller and others scrambling to find their correct defensive assignments. And three minutes into the second period Miller coughed up the puck behind his own net, giving it right to the Kings’ Andy Andreoff who buried it for a 3-1 Kings’ margin.
“[They] rimmed it around, I go to cut the puck off and he got a stick in behind me and it basically went right to their guy,” said Miller, describing the third L.A. goal. “It’s unfortunate. Those can happen in games, [but] we didn’t have a good response after that as a team. Pretty frustrated, obviously very upset and a little bit embarrassed for sure.”
And clearly, in a game where nine goals found the Boston net, there was a full team’s worth of blame to go around.
“We’re not a man-on-man team in our zone and it seemed like that’s how we wanted to play today,” said center Patrice Bergeron. “We had no layers, especially in the slot. How many rebound goals [did] they get? You guys probably know more than me. It’s happened a lot of times this year where we lacked focus … but tonight, I guess that topped it all.”
Bergeron continued: “The breakdowns we had tonight need to be fixed ASAP. They’re a great team, but let’s be honest we were terrible tonight.”
“They just took over the whole game,” said Marchand. “We weren’t winning battles. We weren’t showing any emotion. We weren’t playing our system. We weren’t backing each other up. We weren’t doing anything. Everyone’s [ticked] off. Anyone who has any kind of pride knows this is embarrassing and they should be [ticked] off about it. Hopefully there’s a lot of that right now.”
Perhaps the only man with Boston ties to leave the Garden happy on Tuesday was Lucic, as his first-place Kings continued on their way along a seven-game road trip.
“For our team, especially, goals don’t come too easy,” said Lucic, with the Kings having had scored three goals or fewer in eight of their last nine games before their outburst against Boston. “You see all the goals that we scored, they were second and third chances, getting around the net and putting pucks to the net. It’s not every day you get 57-shots. We were real committed to getting shots on net and getting people at the net to find those second and third opportunities with them having such a great goaltender. Nice to get that win. Nice for me to kind of get through [my return] and focus on the rest of the trip here.”
And in a way, Lucic helped the Garden get through this one, too. Just about the only cheers from Bruins’ fans on the night were reserved for ‘Looch’, reminiscing on his eight-years spent with the club, when times were better.
“The crowd was definitely great here to me tonight,” said Lucic. “Pretty cool that I got to experience that. A lot of special things happened to me here in Boston. Especially the fans, they really helped me become the player and the person that I’ve become today. Thanks to them for making this a special night for me individually and thanks to my teammates for getting a big win for us to start off this road trip. It was pretty cool.”