LOS ANGELES - Facing a goaltender with just two games of regular-season NHL experience who was playing in front of an undisciplined defence, the Boston Bruins scored three more goals than they had managed in their first three games.
Phil Kessel had his first career hat trick and an assist to lead the Bruins to an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.
Marc Savard scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period against 19-year-old Jonathan Bernier, and also had three assists. Aaron Ward scored for Boston, Milan Lucic got his first NHL goal and Glen Murray added a power-play score before setting up Savard's goal.
Three of the Bruins' goals came with the man advantage.
"We capitalized on every power-play chance, it seemed," Savard said. "We've got the weapons. We've got the guys who can move the puck around and we've got a good mix of right-handed and left-handed shots."
Manny Fernandez recorded his first victory with the Bruins, who obtained the 33-year-old goaltender in a July 1 trade with Minnesota.
Anze Kopitar scored two power-play goals for Los Angeles. Brad Stuart connected with the man advantage for the Kings, while Michael Cammalleri got his fifth goal in five games and Brady Murray recorded first goal in the NHL.
The Kings tied it 5-all with 11:41 remaining when Kopitar's rising shot struck the right post and caromed off Fernandez's back before the goalie inadvertently swept it into the net with his left arm.
But the Bruins regained the lead for good when Glen Murray corralled a bouncing puck in the left circle, faked a slap shot and made a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Savard about 10 feet from the net. Bernier could not get over in time to prevent the first goal of the season by Savard, who sat out Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Anaheim because of a groin strain.
"It felt 95 per cent, so I wasn't going to sit out because of that," Savard said. "I knew it was there at times, but you just battle through it. Hopefully it feels good (Saturday) morning so I can go (Saturday) night."
The Bruins scored on three of their first six shots in the second period to take a 4-1 lead. Los Angeles narrowed the gap to 4-3 on Brady Murray's unassisted goal and Kopitar's first goal in the final 2:15 of the period. Kessel completed his hat trick on a rebound less than 1???? minutes into the third period for a 5-3 lead.
"It was pretty exciting," said Kessel, last season's Bill Masterton Trophy winner. "It was one of those nights. I got lucky on a couple. We just went out there and played hard, got some bounces, and things happened for us. We had eight goals, which was good for our offence, but we've got to clean up the defence. Giving up six goals doesn't cut it."
Glen Murray put Boston ahead 2-1 at 4:05 of the period with Savard recording his 500th NHL point with an assist on the play. Ward made it 3-1 less than two minutes later, scoring his first goal in 17 career games against the Kings on a screened slap shot from a few feet inside the blue-line.
"You just have to turn the page and get ready for the next game," Bernier said. "You are going to have games like this during the season. What makes the difference between a good and a bad goalie is bouncing back - and that's what I'm going to try to do."
Notes: This was the teams' only meeting of the season. ... The Bruins have lost the battle of faceoffs in each of their first five games. ... Glen Murray, who spent parts of six seasons with the Kings, led Boston in goal scoring in three of the previous four seasons. ... Former Bruins coach Dave Lewis is an assistant coach with Los Angeles. Mike O'Connell, who spent six seasons in Boston as V.P. and general manager, is the Kings' director of pro development. ... The Bruins conclude their season-opening five-game road trip Saturday night at San Jose - their last one this season outside the Eastern time zone. Their home opener is Thursday against Tampa Bay. ... The Bruins played their first game at Staples Center since Oct. 18, 2003, when they prevented the Kings from getting a single shot on net in the third period and overcame a three-goal deficit to win 4-3.