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Committment Contines to Be There Out West, But Bruins Won't Settle for Moral Victories

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

LOS ANGELES - There are no moral victories in the NHL.

After falling to the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Tuesday night, the Bruins now have four losses in their past five games with the only win coming in overtime against Winnipeg.

They've seen strong efforts against two of the top West teams in LA and Anaheim, and the two of the top teams in the East with Pittsburgh and Montreal, go for naught.

"You never want to be in a position where you say, 'don't worry about it, it will go your way eventually,'" Torey Krug said from the STAPLES Center on Tuesday following the loss to the Kings. "So we've just got to work through it - maintain that positive attitude and work through it."

"We have a group in here that's not satisfied with the way things are going. Which, a lot of teams may say 'hey, we came in and played LA and Anaheim and had two solid games' and they're content with that, but we're not and we're going to move on to San Jose and our plan is to come out with two points."

Games against these teams are expected to be tight, and hard-fought. The defensive effort and the goaltending have been steady.

But the Bruins have scored more than two goals only once in their past 10 games. For the fourth time in five games, they entered the third period without a goal.

"It's like quicksand," said Milan Lucic. "You know, the harder you try, the more you fall in."

"So I think right now we've just got to not grip our sticks too much and kind of just relax and bear down when we get opportunities."

"It's difficult to not get frustrated. It's difficult to stay cool and I guess not cheat - but I think if you look at how things go, if you start cheating and start trying to find ways by not playing the system to try to get results, it usually doesn't work out for you."

The Bruins fell down 1-0 with 3:40 left in the first period, when a turnover was converted by Anze Kopitar to Tanner Pearson wide open at Niklas Svedberg's backdoor. A Kings shot had been blocked, but Kopitar picked up the loose puck, faked a shot and quickly fed Pearson.

The puck could have been cleared out of the zone earlier, but there was a miscommunication between Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.

"The teams that we're playing now are pretty competitive teams, pretty well built teams so when we make mistakes, often we're going to pay for them," said Campbell. "So it's almost like playoff hockey when you play teams of this caliber."

"I think the intensity and effort level's been there but mistakes here and there are going to cost us."

Pearson almost made it 2-0 late in the first after a Bruins' turnover inside the blueline - and fans thought he did - but his drive hit the post and popped out.

Boston had a strong 3-on-5 penalty kill midway through the first, with Kevan Miller off for tripping and Patrice Bergeron catching a tough break with the puck deflecting off his stick and out of play for a delay of game call. But the Kings fired eight power play shots on goal and picked up a 13-5 shots advantage, tilting the ice towards Svedberg.

"It’s hard to criticize the effort of this hockey club right now," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "Because we did everything well - we killed a 5-on-3 — it’s kind of normal that they would gain some momentum from getting that many shots."

On the flip side, the Bruins didn't get any power play opportunities. The one Kings' goal would prove to be the only one needed. Tyler Toffoli potted an empty-netter to seal it 2-0 with 50 seconds left.

"Obviously it's frustrating when you don't win games, but we've just got to keep working and find ways to win a game," said Svedberg, who was stellar with 34 saves on 35 shots. Nearly two thirds of those shots were quality scoring chances.

"There's a lot of positives, but it's about winning games, so we've got to step up here."

Towards the end of the second period, Reilly Smith was reunited with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. David Pastrnak skated with Milan Lucic and Carl Soderberg. In the third period, Matt Fraser saw time with Lucic and Soderberg, and Pastrnak joined Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson.

The Bruins nearly tied it 1-1 with 11:41 left in the third, when Soderberg fired with Lucic tipping the puck atop the crease. The puck jutted out to a wide open Krug up at the left point, who absolutely hammered it, but Jonathan Quick slid left to right to get his chest on it and keep it out.

"Helluva save," said Krug. "I knew he was going to get over really quick, so I glanced up really quick and then had to focus on the puck, just getting a good shot off, and he made a helluva save."

"So, sometimes bounces just don't go in for you, but you'll get plenty of them the opposite way, so he made a great save."

The Bruins showed desperation in the third, outshooting the Kings 12-6.

"You just have to look at Torey — Torey did everything right, and in hindsight, if you had lifted it up, it would have been in, but it hits the goalie’s pads, it hits the post, it doesn’t go in. So it’s not like we’re not trying," said Julien. "Our guys are going in front of the net, and again, the difference in the shot total is them having three power plays and us having none. Otherwise, it’s a pretty even game."

Kelly led the Bruins with five of their 31 shots on goal, and was robbed by Quick twice. Quick is a dominant 10-1-1 at the STAPLES Center this season.

"They're a great team, but he's a great goalie," said Campbell. "We could have probably done a better job of getting in his face. So, Lesson learned, and hopefully we move on and use that."

"We keep stressing as a team that to score goals in this League, it's not an easy thing. They're going to happen in ways that aren't very pretty and most of the goals scored nowadays are from around the net, so when we start getting hungrier around the net, I think the goals will start to come more."

While the goals aren't coming right now, the Bruins have been getting the job done defensively for the most part, backed by strong performances from Svedberg and Tuukka Rask.

"We've just got to find ways to score some goals here," said Julien. "It’s hard to get mad at these guys when you see the effort being put in and the commitment and everything else, and just at the end of the night, when you don’t get rewarded with a single point — and that’s in these last two games - so again, we got to stick with it here because we know it’s just a matter of time."

The Bruins aren't letting that frustration build just yet, and they have two more games in San Jose and Arizona on this road trip to hopefully get rewarded for these efforts.

"We've got to keep competing and keep playing at a high level and at a high pace," said Lucic. "And eventually, we're going to get rewarded for it."

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