By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
For the second consecutive weekend, the Bruins will have a matinee game – this time against the Los Angeles Kings. Last weekend, the Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals, 1-0, on Super Bowl Sunday and then followed it up with a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday in Patrice Bergeron’s 1000th NHL game. On Wednesday, the Bruins gave up a 3-1 lead in the third period to lose 4-3 in a shootout to the Rangers. The Bruins are in the second wild-card spot with 66 points, two points behind Montreal with a game in hand.
Even though the Los Angeles Kings are the worst team in the Western Conference with fifty points, they are in the middle of a three-game winning streak including wins over the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers all this week. Two of the three wins were post-regulation wins – one in the shootout and one in overtime. Los Angeles is five points out of a possible playoff spot, but the Blues, who have the second wild-card position, have two games in hand.
BOS: Tuukka Rask 16-8-4 2.30 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 3-1 Win vs NYI
LAK: Jonathan Quick (Not Confirmed) 11-13-3 2.92 GAA .904 SV% Last Game: 30 Saves in 3-2 Win vs PHI
Anze Kopitar signed an eight-year contract worth an annual average of $10 million per season back in 2016 and he has been worth his money in the past few games. In the last six games, the Jesenice, Slovenia native has 3-6-9 totals including a five-game point streak that lasted from January 19th to February 7th. The 31-year-old leads the Kings with 16-24-40 numbers in 53 games this season.
Patrice Bergeron is going to be honoured for his 1000th NHL regular season game today against the Kings and he has not slowed down his play, even with the milestone. The Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada native has four points in his last four games including three goals in the last two games. Bergeron 19-28-47 totals in thirty-eight games this season and he continues to be one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL.
Tyler Toffoli was a second-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Kings and has been one of the better scoring players on the roster over the past few seasons and he has been as of late as well. Toffoli has 3-2-5 totals in his last three games, including two goals in thirty-five seconds against the Devils on Feb. 5th. Toffoli helped the Kings set a franchise record for fastest three goals to start a period, scoring three times in only 112 seconds.
Tuukka Rask has been solid in the crease for the Bruins. In each of his last ten starts, the Bruins have earned a point with Rask going 8-0-2 in that time. He has an impressive 1.63 goals-against-average and .945 save percentage in the ten games played. Rask’s 2.30 GAA is tied for the third-best in the league and his .924 save percentage this season tied for fifth.
Drew Doughty is the number one defenceman in L.A., even more so with the loss of Jake Muzzin to the Maple Leafs in a recent trade but he has not been the best this season. He only has one point in the last four games and was a minus rating in two of those games – bringing his season total to a -18 rating, the worst on the entire Kings roster.
Jake DeBrusk is supposed to add some more goals and assists on the second line for the Bruins but he has failed to do so this year, only scoring fourteen goals and five assists for nineteen points in forty-five games. The 2015 first-rounder has only one point in his last seven games and has not scored a goal since January 8th (11 games). In response, DeBrusk was skating on the third line ahead of today’s game.
Alec Martinez is currently in the middle of an eleven-game pointless streak dating back to December 6th. Martinez has put up thirty plus points in the past few seasons with the Kings, but in 2018-19, he is currently on pace for around twenty-two points. Martinez is 31 years of age now and he needs to bring more responsible scoring on the backend, even though he is a defenceman.
- D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals
- F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most SHG in Bruins history
- F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away from taking sole possession of 7th most GWG in Bruins history
- F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away from taking sole possession of 3rd most GWG in Bruins history
Los Angeles Kings:
- F Jeff Carter is three points away (697) from 700 career NHL points
- F Dustin Brown is two points away (598) from 600 career NHL points
- F Dustin Brown is three goals away (272) from tying Butch Goring for 6th most goals in Kings history
- F Anze Kopitar is one game-winning goal away (47) from taking sole possession of 3rd most GWG in Kings history
- F Dustin Brown is one power-play goal away (91) from tying Rob Blake (92) for 5th most PPG in Kings history
Bruins vs Kings Outlook
When the Bruins and Kings battle it out, it is more often than not an entertaining contest. Both teams like getting physical and have the players to do so and in the same breath have players and goalies that can score or make big saves. Equally, both the Bruins and Kings need this win for playoff seeding values, as the Kings may try and make a push for the post-season.
Last season, the Bruins won the two-game season series against Los Angeles, losing a 2-1 overtime game in October, but returning with a 2-1 regulation win in November 2017. This meeting is the first of two meetings within seven days for the two franchises, as the two will make the trip to Los Angeles, California for the second game next Saturday.
Expect another close, back-and-forth hockey game this afternoon. Boston’s power-play (tied for 2nd best in NHL at 27.1%) may be a big factor as the Kings have the third-worst penalty-kill percentage in the league, killing off only 76.1% of the penalties they take. On the flip side of that, the Bruins average the most penalty minutes taken per game, while the Kings take the third-least amount of penalties per minute on average in the NHL.
Either way, this 1pm EST puck drop will put a start to a great hockey game at TD Garden. Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) for post-game coverage. Here are the projected lines for the contest for your Boston Bruins.
David Backes is in for Trent Frederic and Matt Grzelcyk is unlikely to play today as he is dealing with a lower-body injury.