What we learned: Bruins dismantled by stronger Kings
The Boston Bruins welcomed back Milan Lucic to TD Garden Tuesday night as they looked for two straight home wins for the first time since late November. They did not get their wish.
Tuukka Rask was pulled after allowing five goals while the Los Angeles Kings steamrolled to a 9-2 beatdown over the Black and Gold. Lucic scored a goal and assisted on another in his team’s dismantling of his former squad.
Lucic spent eight years with the B’s that included the memorable Stanley Cup winning season in 2010-2011. He netted 139 goals in 566 games. He also accumulated 772 penalty minutes bringing that “Big Bad Bruin” mentality at all times. For his new regime, Lucic now has 13 goals and 19 assists to go along with 66 penalty minutes.
Tuesday night, it was a night to forget for the Black and Gold all around where they allowed 57 shots on goal. It was the dreadful middle frame for Boston where they let things slip away in a statement game against the Pacific Division leaders.
Lucic still beloved in Boston
There was no question what the reception for Lucic was going to be Tuesday night at a place he called home from 2007-2015. It was a question of how loud, and the Boston faithful made him smile ear to ear after his tribute played on the jumbotron during a TV timeout.
The left-winger was a big part of the “core” group that former general manager Peter Chiarelli always talked about, but with contract negotiations looming, now GM Don Sweeney made one of the biggest moves just months after accepting the position when he shipped the beloved bruiser to the west coast.
Lucic was certainly not forgotten by his teammates, coaches and most notably the fans he played in front of for almost his entire career.
Another tough night for Kevan Miller
There were many question marks regarding Miller heading into the year and if Tuesday night was any indication whether or not he’s improving, it is tough to say yes with a straight face.
The Kings first goal by Jeff Carter was deflected off Miller’s stick past Rask, and then the third-year defenseman did the unthinkable, turning the puck over in front of his own net to gift wrap a goal to Andy Andreoff to push the Kings’ lead to two.
Miller’s turnovers have been a sore spot this year, and many fans and media members wonder why he isn’t sitting up on Level 9. Adam McQuaid’s return could be the proverbial nail in the coffin for Miller, whenever that is.
He had an assist on Tyler Randell’s third period tally, but it was evident that Miller is more of a liability than an asset to the B’s. Sometimes Miller has hard luck, but most times his mistakes are due to poor execution as evident on Tuesday.
B’s are nowhere near elite
Sure, the Black and Gold have gone on some nice winning streaks here and there this season, but when it comes to playing against the NHL’s elite, Claude Julien’s team just isn’t quite there yet. It’s even more surprising that those elite teams such as the Stars, Sharks, Ducks, Kings and Blues dominated the B’s on their home ice where in recent years was a very tough place to play.
It will be interesting to see what Sweeney does at the trade deadline to improve his roster. Will he be able to acquire key assets for a playoff run? Or will he part ways with some of his veterans and sell? Only time will tell.
Brad Marchand stays hot
Marchand did what Marchand does scoring a goal that gave his team the lead. This time, it was on a first period power-play where he snuck into space smacking home a rebound giving him his 10th goal in his last 10 games and his 25th of the year.
Sure, it doesn’t matter on this night because his team got blown out, but what Marchand is doing during this recent stretch is nothing short of extraordinary. If the Black and Gold want to keep their heads above water in the playoff chase, Marchand will need to carry them as he has been all season long.