A script doesn’t get much more flipped than this.
From the last-second heroics from No. 73 of the Kings last season, to the perfect capper for No. 37 of the Boston Bruins on Saturday, it was all about alternate endings.
The Kings could have silenced the “Beat L.A.!” chants from TD Garden like they did with Tyler Toffoli’s overtime goal with 0.4 seconds left two Octobers ago. But the Boston Bruins rewrote this one and Patrice Bergeron autographed it with an overtime score to hand the Kings a 5-4 loss.
Bergeron’s four-on-three power-play marker punctured the Kings, who rallied from 4-2 down with goals by Nate Thompson and Oscar Fantenberg after they allowed three goals in three minutes, 22 seconds in the beginning of the third period.
“We didn’t really have an answer for their push there,” Thompson said. “It was a resilient second half. I thought we did a good job coming back there, but I think, for the most part, we were in the driver’s seat tonight, and we let them back in the game.”Even in defeat, Thompson couldn’t help feel sentimental for Bergeron on an afternoon in which Bergeron was recognized for his recently played 1,000th game in a ceremony the Kings watched from their bench. Thompson and Bergeron were drafted by Boston in 2003 and were briefly teammates in the organization.
“I was a lot less mature than him when we came in,” Thompson said. “We got to play together in the minors and the lockout season, too. He’s just an all-around world-class guy. Every time the game’s on the line he seems to rise to the occasion and be the guy. Whenever you think the Boston Bruins, you think of Patrice Bergeron. I couldn’t be more happy for him.”
Bergeron ended a crazy matinee with a shot that tucked inside the left post two minutes, 34 seconds into overtime with Ilya Kovalchuk in the penalty box for tripping David Pastrnak.
The Kings were in line for their fourth win on this trip because of some unlikely scoring sources. Fantenberg’s first goal this season, and first since Dec.16, 2017, came on a slap shot with fewer than five minutes remaining in regulation. Minutes earlier, Thompson whacked in Brendan Leipsic’s pass from the slot for his fourth goal and first since Dec.18.
Leipsic made a spin move to set up Thompson and played one of his stronger games on a new second line with Thompson and Toffoli. That line, or a variation of it, might continue with Jeff Carter recovering from injury. Trevor Lewis was activated from injured reserve but did not play.
Coach Willie Desjardins had said there was no rush to get Lewis back, and there wasn’t much reason to change the lineup with Leipsic and others showing effectiveness.
“I thought Leipsic had a good game,” Desjardins said. “It was good to see him play that well. I thought all our lines played good. [The Bruins are] a good team. They’ve got two big lines, and they’re hard to handle.”
The Kings handled it in the second period as Alex Iafallo and Anze Kopitar scored for a 2-1 lead, only the 19th time this season the Kings have taken a lead into the third period. But that vanished on goals by Danton Heinen, David Krejci and Brad Marchand shorthanded.
“It’s disappointing,” Leipsic said. “We kind of fell asleep there and weren’t ready to play for three-and-a-half minutes there, ‘til we got our feet under us. You can’t sit back against team like that with high-end skills.”
After a dramatically different ending this time in Boston, the Kings grudgingly accepted a point and a 3-1-1 record on a trip that ends Monday.
“In the end it was a good point,” Desjardins said. “The guys battled back. It was easy for us to kind of fall back. It was a little disappointing to start the third. We could have been better to start the third, for sure. But the thing I liked about this group is that they don’t give up, and it was good to see them turn around and get a couple.”