Tim Thomas was named the NHL's first star of the week on Monday morning, and on Monday night in Los Angeles he showed why he was worthy of such an honor.
But the rest of the Bruins didn't exactly turn in a performance worthy of accolades, as the Kings posted a 2-0 win over Boston.
The Bruins finish their brief trip out West with a split of the two games, and will head home to face Florida on Wednesday in their final game before the All-Star break.
They'll have to do a little better job of creating offensive opportunities in that one to head into the midseason hiatus on a high note and keep Montreal from catching up to them for the Northeast Division lead.
That lead over the Habs stands at just two points with both teams now having played 49 games.
The Bruins had a chance to add some breathing room on Monday, but struggled to get anything going against the Kings' stingy defense.
"They're a team that does a pretty good job of limiting shots and scoring chances when they're on top of their game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of the Kings. "I thought they were tonight. But it was one of those situations where I didn't think we got that many scoring chances. We needed to get more traffic in front of the net and we didn't do a good enough job of that. We didn't generate enough shots and traffic in front of the net and consequently we didn't get that many scoring opportunities and I thought that really hurt us."
When the Bruins did get chances, Jonathan Quick was up to the task. The Milford, Conn., native and UMass product continued his dominance of his hometown team. Quick stopped all 34 shots he faced for his fifth shutout of the season, improving to 5-0-0 against Boston in the process.
This was the first of those victories in regulation, as three of previous wins were in shootouts and the other came in overtime. There was no need for such drama in this one. Even though the Kings gave up more than 30 shots for just the second time in their last 13 games, few of those shots were true testing bids.
Milan Lucic did have a couple of opportunities, including a point-blank bid in front off a David Krejci feed on a power play, and Michael Ryder also had some early chances. Ryder was moved up to the top line alongside Krejci and Lucic in the second period, as the slumping Nathan Horton was finally moved down to a lower line.
Horton now has just one goal in his last 19 games. He had just one shot on Monday, a scoring chance from the right circle on a 2-on-1 with Lucic just 1:14 into the first period. But Quick gobbled that up and Horton did not have another shot all night, finishing a minus-1 with one hit and a giveaway in 15:24.
Horton was far from alone in struggling on Monday. Other than a brief spark from a late first-period fight by Shawn Thornton there wasn't much to get excited about in this one.
That and another memorable performance by Thomas, who fell to 0-1-4 in his career against Los Angeles despite repeatedly robbing the Kings on golden chances to keep the Bruins in the game. The Bruins squandered that effort though, and will need to get back to the better all-around effort they displayed in Colorado on Saturday when they return East to take on the Panthers on Wednesday.
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