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.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!  

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Bruins Game 55 Preview: Los Angeles Kings

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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.

Starting Goaltenders:

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

Who’s Hot

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.

Who’s Not

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.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • 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.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

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