Los Angeles -- The Boston Bruins outlasted the Los Angeles Kings, 8-6, Friday night in front of 17,064 fans at the STAPLES Center. Super soph Phil Kessel scored his first career hat trick, and rookie power forward Milan Lucic scored his first career NHL goal, as the Bruins held on to win the high scoring game.
"You always try and take the positives out of these (crazy) games and, you know, we really told our guys that we had to bear down on our scoring chances and get a little better at finishing them," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "There's no doubt that we were much better there, but unfortunately it's almost like we forgot about the other part of the game."
The Bruins hit the fourth city on their five stop road trip and hoped to fare better against the Kings than they did against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night in a 2-1 loss. Boston Goalie Manny Fernandez made his second start of the year as the B's worked to even their season, and road trip, record.
The veteran goalie was solid in the first half of the first period, but Lucic stole the show in the second half of the frame when he threw a heavy hit on noted tough guy Raitis Ivanans and then stood toe-to-toe with the 6'3, 263-pound Latvian. Lucic, who gave up 40-pounds to his opponent, took some hard shots, but also scored a take down on the Kings big winger.
"I think I held my ground," said Lucic after the game.
Later in the period, with just 3:06 left on the clock Kessel beat Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Bernier under the arm with a nasty wrist shot from the face off dot to the keeper's right.
Former Bruin Brad Stuart, who signed with the Kings during the off-season, tied the game at 1-1 with a late power play goal at 19:47.
Milan Lucic, left, fights with Los Angeles Kings left wing Raitis Ivanans during the first period.
eteran B's sniper Glen Murray was the recipient of a gift from the hockey deities early in the middle stanza. At 4:05 of the period, he grabbed a loose puck off of a blocked Marc Savard shot and roofed it over the LA goalie to earn his first goal of the season.
Some hard work in the Kings zone led to the next goal by Boston's Aaron Ward. Kessel and Lucic both worked the puck out of the Los Angeles corner, and Lucic passed it to the point for a waiting Ward who, with a hesitation wrist shot, put the Bruins up by two goals at 5:56.
On a power play, Savard set up the next Boston score when he made an outstanding pass to Kessel, who was camped out to the left of the Los Angeles goal, and the young forward slam dunked the puck past a helpless Bernier at 8:56.
Los Angeles ended Boston's dominance in the second when rookie forward Brady Murray scored his first NHL goal, unassisted, at 17:45. That made the score, 4-2. Then, with a Bruin in the box, a loose puck in front of the B's net led to a King's goal from Anze Kopitar at 19:11.
Kessel completed a hat trick at 1:27 when another Savard shot was blocked in front of the Los Angeles goal, bounced off Peter Schaefer and landed at Phil's feet. The forward slammed the puck home.
"Our young kids were good," said Julien. "Kessel was really good, tonight.
"He's got tremendous speed.
"I just saw Phil doing some really good things like winning races for loose pucks, battling...I like the way he has been determined over the last few weeks," he said.
The impromptu shootout continued when Michael Cammalleri found himself in front of the Boston goal, in the slot, with the puck on his stick and no defenders near him at 4:37 to make the score, 5-4, Boston. The Kings scored again when, through a crowd, Kopitar rifled a shot that pinballed through Fernandez and just trickled into the Boston net at 8:19 and tied the score at 5-5.
"Our defensive game was extremely poor," said the coach. "I felt sorry for Manny because he was left alone, for the most part.
"The loose pucks and the rebounds -- (the Kings) were pouncing.
"It certainly was not the kind of effort we need in front of our goaltenders," Julien said.
Boston's Savard put the Bruins back on top, 6-5, when Murray found him to Bernier's left and the center beat the sprawling Kings netminder at 9:42.
Lucic completed a "Gordie Howe hat trick" (fight, assist, goal) with his first NHL goal to make the score 7-5. The B's added another at 18:30 when Chuck Kobasew scored an empty-netter.
"He stepped up in every way," said Julien of Lucic. "I think Lucic won some big points tonight (from) everyone -- not just us. We know what he can do, but around the league, there is no doubt he's earned a lot of respect."
Los Angeles' Patrick O'Sullivan added a garbage-timer very late in the period to make the final score 8-6.
Boston takes on Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and will head home to New England after the game.
Notes -- Marc Savard earned his 500th NHL point with his first assist of a 1-4-5 effort. ---
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