The Kings showed vulnerability, then resiliency. Ultimately, it was not a winning combination.
There were positives to take out of a 5-4 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. But it was a lost four-minute stretch that the Kings cursed, then erased, before Patrice Bergeron ended a combined five-goal binge by both teams in the final 23 minutes of jampacked action.
It was a wacky encore to last season’s last-second Kings overtime win. Yep, these teams like drama. It just wasn’t on the Kings’ side this time.
Here’s what we learned:
Brendan Leipsic is showing something. Leipsic has the playmaking skills but more parts of his game are coming into play, such as the passing and finishing.
It’s a welcome performance for a waiver-wire acquisition who finds himself on the second line. Leipsic made a spin move to get into position to assist Nate Thompson in the third period and stood out on several other plays.
“He obviously an undersized guy but he makes a lot of plays and he skates pretty well out there,” Thompson said. “He’s very elusive in the corners. He’s a lot tougher on D down there. He’s kind of hard to handle down there. He makes really good plays in tight spaces.”
As the Kings have developed a semblance of identity during this winning run (6-2-2 in their last 10 games), the top line reasserted itself with a solid game against a blue-collar Bruins team that plays a simple, aggressively forechecking game similar to what the Kings played earlier this decade.
Kopitar came out even on faceoffs (12-for-24) in a twice-per-season matchup against fellow Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron.
It’s all about Bergeron. The four-time Selke Trophy winner is the face of the Bruins, and his game-winning goal was fitting after the organization honored him for his 1,000th game, with his family in attendance.
Bergeron has some ties to the Kings in former teammates Nate Thompson and Marco Sturm, a Kings assistant coach he praised postgame.
“I learned a lot from him, especially when he came in when I was 20 years old and just the energy that he brought every day at the rink was great for a young guy like me,” Bergeron said. “I realized that he was enjoying and making the most of the moment and that’s something real important that you forget sometimes. He was an amazing teammate.”