LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings did not give the Boston Bruins much for the first half of Saturday’s game. But the Bruins found some more pace to their offensive game in the second period when Morgan Geekie scored a net-front goal to give his team a 2-1 lead.
The Bruins put two more past Cam Talbot and shook off a late Carl Grundstrom goal to claim a 4-2 win and stay perfect (4-0-0) in 2023-24.
“We just wore out the back of the net,” coach Jim Montgomery said of his team’s midgame surge. “We held on to pucks. I think we really saw the type of team we believe we can be.”
Goaltending stays airtight
Alex Laferriere scored off the rush. Grundstrom scored on a deflection.
Otherwise, Jeremy Swayman submitted a tidy 32-save performance for his second win. Swayman was square, fast and aggressive. He lifted his save percentage to .943. Linus Ullmark is at .958.
“We are still a work in progress,” Montgomery said. “We’re starting to see improvement every game. But our goaltenders, we know it’s the strength of our team. They’re doing a great job.”
Swayman’s best quality may have been his timeliness. In the third period, with the Bruins holding a 3-1 lead, Swayman made back-to-back reaction saves to keep his team up two.
First, after Adrian Kempe dashed past Hampus Lindholm, Swayman turned back the Los Angeles speedster on a point-blank shot. Then when Quinton Byfield swooped on the rebound, Swayman reset his feet, got square to the shot and smothered the puck at 7:25 of the third, falling backward after doing so.
“That’s what I’ve been working on, especially this offseason, not drifting,” Swayman said. “Making sure I’m setting my feet and getting into a square position so I can make that second save. I think I ended up on my ass, though. So I don’t know if that’s textbook goaltending. I’ll have to watch the replay if I got swiped or something. I want to make those saves as a momentum piece and move forward to give my team all the confidence to make plays and get out of the zone.”
Winning time. pic.twitter.com/6d3qbghKcf
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 22, 2023
Poitras bounces back
Matt Poitras did not look comfortable against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. The No. 2 center found himself demoted to the third line at times.
The 19-year-old stopped the bleeding against the Kings.
Poitras bounced back with a more confident 13:25 performance. He initiated Geekie’s goal while controlling the puck, first on the left side, then behind the net. By extending the Bruins’ offensive-zone time, Poitras got the Kings chasing, stretching out their coverage.
Derek Forbort rattled a one-timer off iron. But Poitras recovered the puck to feed Forbort for a second one-timer. Talbot made the stop, but Geekie scored on the rebound.
“Well,” Montgomery said when asked how Poitras responded to his flatness in San Jose. “Hanging on to pucks. That Geekie goal all started with him.”
Poitras was most creative when he was centering Milan Lucic and Geekie on the No. 2 line.
Early kill proves critical
At 2:01 of the first, Charlie Coyle was called for interference. At 3:06, Johnny Beecher took a boarding penalty. It gave the Kings a 55-second five-on-three power play.
The Bruins were in a hole. Coyle and Beecher are in the penalty-killing rotation. The Bruins were without fellow PK regular Jake DeBrusk, scratched for being late to a team meeting.
But the Bruins killed off the two-man advantage to keep the game scoreless. The Bruins allowed their first power-play goal of the year in garbage time with Trent Frederic off for cross-checking.
“It’s tough when you get a five-on-three,” Montgomery said. “If they jack one in the net, then you’re chasing the game right from the first couple minutes of the game. Our penalty kill’s been excellent all year long.”
Pastrnak keeps scoring
David Pastrnak has scored in all four games. The No. 1 right wing kept his streak going with a first-period snap shot through Vladislav Gavrikov and past Talbot’s glove. Pastrnak is the first Bruin to score in a season’s first four games since Dmitri Kvartalnov turned the trick in 1992-93.
As pretty as Pastrnak’s goal was, he recorded an even silkier helper in the third period. As soon as he got the puck behind the net, Pastrnak whipped a backhand pass to Brad Marchand. The left wing put the puck past Talbot before the goalie could move from right to left.
Frederic flattens Englund
Four seconds after Geekie made it a 2-1 game, Frederic and Andreas Englund agreed to fight. Frederic made quick work of Englund by landing a pair of thunderous rights. The scrap ended after Frederic pulled Englund’s jersey over his head.
It was Frederic’s first fight of the year.
“Great job with the fight,” said Montgomery. “Our bench really got going on that.”
(Photo of Jeremy Swayman stopping a shot by the Kings’ Adrian Kempe in the first period Saturday: Ashley Landis / Associated Press)