Bruins Game 59 Preview: Los Angeles Kings

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson / AP Photo)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Another day, another series of back-to-backs for the Boston Bruins. After a solid 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks last night in Anaheim to begin this five-game road trip, the Bruins now look to the Los Angeles Kings – the team they beat last Saturday in Boston. Boston’s four-game winning streak has given them a five-point cushion on the Montreal Canadiens and only one point behind the Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division standings.

The Los Angeles Kings were on a three-game winning streak before losing to Boston last week in overtime. Since the loss to the Bruins, the Kings have lost 6-4 to the Capitals and most recently, 4-3 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings are tied for the second-worst record in the NHL with a 23-28-6 record for 52 points on the season.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 18-8-4 2.38 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 6-3 Win vs CHI

LAK: Jonathan Quick 11-14-5 3.09 GAA .899 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 4-3 SO Loss vs VAN

Who’s Hot

Tuukka Rask is back in goal for the Bruins after Jaroslav Halak picked up his fourth shutout of the season last night against the Ducks. Rask has had a solid month of February already, winning all four games that he has started in (WSH, NYI, LAK, CHI), only allowing eight goals in that stretch. Rask has earned a point in his last twelve games and his .920 save percentage is the eighth-best in the league.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

Tyler Toffoli is arguably one of the only good young players this season for the Kings and he has been solid for them in the last few games. Toffoli has five points (3-2-5) in his last five games and seven in his last six. The 26-year-old forward is fourth in scoring on the Kings roster with 12-15-27 numbers in 57 games in 2018-19.

Torey Krug is one of the best offensive defencemen in the NHL and this season, he is holding that title well. Krug is in the middle of a five-game point streak, scoring six points in that time span. Krug nearly had two assists in Friday’s win over Anaheim, but his assist was taken away when Carlo’s goal was changed to Acciari. Krug now has 5-36-41 numbers in 47 games for the B’s this year.

The fourth line of the Bruins was great against the Ducks, with Sean Kuraly finishing the night with a pair of assists, while Noel Acciari scored the first, and eventual game-winning goal, in the opening period. Chris Wagner also buried the final nail in the Ducks’ coffin in the empty net for his seventh goal of the year, tying a career-high. The fourth line of Boston is one of the hardest working lines on the roster and they always attack the puck on defence and forecheck.

Who’s Not

Jonathan Quick, like a lot of Kings players this season, is well off from a career year in net. Quick has lost his last three starts, including two games in a row where he allowed five or more goals (5 vs BOS on Feb. 9th and 6 vs WSH on Feb. 11th). The 33-year-old netminder has a sub-.900 save percentage and averages over three goals against per game when he is in between the pipes.

Joakim Nordstrom was one of the free agent signings by the Bruins last off-season, but the 26-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden native has only 5-2-7 numbers in 47 games this season and has not recorded a single point in his last fourteen games played. Somehow, Nordstrom has tied his point production for last season, but on this roster, the Bruins need him to produce more – even if he’s on the bottom-six for games.

Ilya Kovalchuk should be producing more than he has been and that is a cause for concern for the Kings management, who signed the Russian to a three-year deal worth just over $6 million per season. The 35-year-old winger has failed to score a point in his last four games and has 11-15-26 numbers in forty-seven games played this year. Kovalchuk has even been mentioned in trade rumours again, not even a full season after signing with Los Angeles.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away (198) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal (202) from tying Peter McNab (203) for 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one shot away (2985) from passing Bobby Orr (2985) for the 4th most shots in Bruins history.

Los Angeles Kings:

  • F Dustin Brown is one point away (599) from 600 career NHL points
  • F Jeff Carter is three points (697) from 700 career NHL points
  • F Dustin Brown is three goals away (272) from tying Butch Goring (275) for 6th most goals in Kings history
  • F Dustin Brown is one power-play goal away (91) from tying Rob Blake (92) for 5th most power-play goals in Kings history
  • F Anze Kopitar is one game-winning goal away (47) from passing Dave Taylor (47) for sole possession of 3rd most GWG in Kings history

Bruins vs Kings Outlook

Having played each other only seven days ago, the Bruins and Kings are relatively familiar with the style of their games against one another. The Bruins managed to take a 5-4 win in overtime in their previous meeting this season, but Boston lost the lead twice in the game, something they cannot afford to do again tonight.

Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists the last time these two teams faced one another, while both Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen finished the night with two points each. The Bruins showed glimpses of high offence and that will need to be on display once again tonight. In the February 9th game, the B’s had a tough time making good, solid breakout passes and the Kings will be looking to capitalize more often tonight if it becomes a habit once again.

The Bruins have the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.7%) while the Kings have the fourth-worst at 15.4%. For the penalty-kill, Boston has killed off 80.7% of their penalties, the fourteenth-best in the league. L.A. has the second-worst PK in the National Hockey League, sitting around 75.6%. Los Angeles has also scored the second-least amount of total goals, ahead of only the Anaheim Ducks, who the Bruins shutout last night.

John Moore and David Backes are out of the lineup tonight while Matt Grzelcyk makes his return after recovering from a lower-body injury and forward Karson Kuhlman makes his NHL debut in replace of Backes. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:30pm EST in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

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Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

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