BOSTON — Several Bruins players called Tuesday night’s matchup with the Los Angeles Kings a measuring-stick game of sorts. If that was the case, the stick was broken in half, stuffed in a trash compactor and flushed down the toilet with about 18 minutes remaining in the second period.
Andy Andreoff’s goal at the 2:42 mark of the second opened the floodgates in what ended up being Boston’s most lopsided loss in nearly eight years — a 9-2 evisceration on home ice at the hands of Milan Lucic and Los Angeles Kings.
“We knew we had some work to do,” center Patrice Bergeron said after the game. “But we have, I guess, a lot of work to do. … They’re a great team, (but) I mean, let’s be honest — we were terrible tonight.”
The loss was the Bruins’ worst since the Washington Capitals routed them 10-2 on March 3, 2008, and the 57 shots the Kings fired on goalies Tuukka Rask and Jonas Gustavsson was the highest single-game total against a Bruins team since 1965.
Five of L.A.’s goals came with Rask in net; the remaining four were charged to Gustavsson, who took over after Rask allowed two goals in 33 seconds midway through the second period.
“I feel like we got absolutely embarrassed,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “And obviously they played a really good game, but we had nowhere near the game that we needed to play, and it was embarrassing.”
“Embarrassing” was a common adjective in the Bruins’ dressing room following the loss. “Unacceptable,” too. Winger Brad Marchand, who scored the game’s first goal before the L.A. steamroller took over, said he was “pissed off” by the loss, and that he hoped his teammates shared his anger.
“Anyone who has any kind of pride knows that this is embarrassing, and they should be pissed off about it,” Marchand said. “So, hopefully there?s a lot of that right now.”
Center David Krejci, who has a penchant for honesty in postgame interviews, was even less forgiving.
“This is the biggest loss since I?ve been here,” Krejci said, “and they way we lost, especially in the third and second period, it?s just unacceptable. You should go out there even if you?re losing 6-1 after the second period (and) show some pride, you know, and try to fight and show fans that we respect them coming here. We don?t want to get booed in our building.
“… As a Bruins player, there?s so much history here (at TD Garden). And when a game like that happens, you get really ashamed of yourself.”
In the grand scheme of the season, one early-February loss — even one as embarrassing and unacceptable as this one — does not mean a great deal. With the Tampa Bay Lightning also losing Tuesday, the Bruins remained locked in their de facto three-way tie for second place in the Atlantic Division.
What the loss did do, however, was continue an unsettling trend. The Bruins have won once in eight games against Western Conference playoff teams, with that lone victory coming in the fourth game of the season (a 6-2 rout of the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 14). They’ve also allowed five or more goals in four of those seven losses.
With the West widely viewed as the more talented of the NHL’s two conferences, this track record shows the B’s have not stacked up well against the best the league has to offer.
“We talk about it before these games that they?re big games and good teams and big teams,” Rask said. “We talk about how we should play against them, and we pretty much do the opposite. You can tell that we haven?t been able to play against an Anaheim or L.A., for example. It?s something we have to get better at if we want to be an elite team.”
The Bruins will have plenty of time for team-building over the next week-and-a-half. They begin a six-game road trip Thursday that includes matchups with three of those Western Conference playoff clubs.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/Associated Press