The Kings had come clad in gold-and-purple, in a celebration of the half a century they have been a franchise. But it was a date further back than that one that ultimately mattered at the end of the night: March 18, 1965.
That was the last time the Bruins had allowed 57 shots, which they did in a 10-3 loss to the Red Wings. They did it again on Tuesday night, giving up 57 shots to the Los Angeles in an ugly 9-2 loss at the TD Garden.
It was a defeat that left the Bruins spewing buzzwords in the postgame locker room.
“I feel like we got absolutely embarrassed,” said Zdeno Chara. “Obviously they played a really good game, but we were nowhere near the game that we needed to play. It was embarrassing.”
By the middle of the second period, it was clear that the Bruins could not keep up. They had already given up five goals to the Kings, had already swapped Tuukka Rask for Jonas Gustavsson, and had essentially already lost their last home game before heading out on a six-game road trip. And it would only get worse.
The nine goals Boston allowed – five on 32 shots by Rask, four on 25 shots by Gustavsson – were the most they had allowed since giving up 10 to the Capitals on March 2, 2008.
“They’re a great team,” Patrice Bergeron said. “I mean, let’s be honest, we were terrible tonight.”
Even Milan Lucic got in on the action, scoring the seventh goal of the night for the Kings and receiving a rousing ovation from the crowd in return. It was just one of the ovations that Lucic got in his return to Boston, far more cheers than the home team deserved.
Lucic took a victory lap after the game, a reminder to the few Bruins fans left of what they no longer have.
The Bruins scored first but the game went in the wrong direction from there. The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first period courtesy of Brad Marchand’s 10th goal in 10 games. He scored at 5:03 when he netted a second rebound for his 25th goal of the season.
That was the high point.
With 1:39 left in the first, Jeff Carter got a fortunate bounce off the stick of Kevan Miller, with the puck popping up and over Rask for a power-play goal. Then, with 15.2 seconds remaining in the period, and Miller again on the ice, Marian Gaborik ended a scramble with the puck around the Bruins’ net by backhanding it past Rask.
“I thought we looked pretty good in the first,” Rask said. “Obviously they had a lot of shots, but we had some chances too, and then all of a sudden they get those two goals really quickly at the end there and it kind of deflates us. We never recovered.”
In the final two periods the Kings poured it on, with goals by Andy Andreoff (2:42) directly off a turnover by Miller, Drew Doughty (12:09), Dwight King (12:42), Trevor Lewis (18:56) in the second and Lucic (3:41), Luke Schenn (13:50), and Dustin Brown (16:57) in the third.
“They just took over the whole game,” Marchand said. “We weren’t going in battles. We weren’t showing any emotion. We weren’t playing our system. We weren’t backing each other up. We just – we weren’t doing anything.”
That is what has happened this season in games against Western Conference teams which are bigger, tougher, heavier, and clearly more talented clubs. The Bruins have gotten clobbered by the Jets, Stars, Ducks, and Kings.
Still, as Miller said, “I don’t even think it was really that they were big, strong, whatever it may be. I think it was more self-inflicted than that.”
They do not measure up.
“We have a long road in front of us, but I still believe we have a good playoff team and we can prove lots of people wrong,” David Krejci said. “But we have to wake up here. As individuals we have to look ourselves in the mirror.”
They need to, as Chara said, “hold each other accountable.”
They need to be better. It is that simple, especially with the trade deadline creeping up.
“A lot of work to be done,” Bergeron said. “It’s one of those things where, we have 29 games left, and we knew we had some work to do, but we have, I guess, a lot of work to do.”
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.