In San Jose, the Bruins couldn’t finish the job after holding a 2-1 lead and fell 3-2 to the Sharks. Three days later in Anaheim, the Black and Gold didn’t play all that poorly — despite a slow start — but ultimately fell victim to the talented Ducks, 4-0.
Tonight, the Bruins have one final chance to get two points on this California road trip in Los Angeles. The pain of their 9-2 loss to the Kings at TD Garden is still deep, and the B’s are hoping for better execution from top to bottom at the Staples Center.
Gametime: 10:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 39-25-8 (86 points), Kings 43-22-5 (91 points)
Location: Staples Center
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Lee Stempniak
Loui Eriksson-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Brett Connolly
Landon Ferraro-Noel Acciari-Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara-Kevan Miller
Dennis Seidenberg-John-Michael Liles
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kings projected lines
Milan Lucic-Anze Kopitar-Kris Versteeg
Kyle Clifford-Jeff Carter-Dustin Brown
Dwight King-Nick Shore-Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson-Vincent Lecavalier-Trevor Lewis
Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin-Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb-Luke Schenn
Matchup to watch: Bruins vs. Kings’ role players
It wasn’t so much the Kings’ top guns like Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter and Milan Lucic — though they all played a big role — that gave the Bruins fits in the first meeting of the season. Throughout the lineup, the Kings got plenty of contributions and their secondary players like Dustin Brown, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford en route to that 9-2 win during a chilly February night on Causeway Street.
Certainly, the Bruins will need to contain the Kings’ top two lines. But they’ll also need to keep LA’s third and fourth lines in check. Otherwise, it is going to be another long night for the Black and Gold in Tinseltown.
Storyline to watch: Can the Bruins salvage the trip?
Once again, the Bruins face a significant talent gap against tonight’s opposition. But somehow, someway, they are going to need to steal a game in ‘The Golden State’, and they have one more chance to do that.
Over the years, the Bruins and Kings have always played each other evenly. Both teams are known for their hard skating and strength. LA, however, boasts a speed advantage and will try to use that against a Black and Gold team playing their second game of a back-to-back.
For all the progress the Bruins made before the three-game California trip, the last thing they want to do is repeat a pretty alarming trend of one step forward and two steps back. They do lead the ninth-place Flyers (who will have three games in hand on the B’s following tonight’s matchup) by six points and are within three points of the Panthers (one game in hand on the B’s) for first in the Atlantic Division.
In this critical point of the season, we’ll see if the Bruins can break the troubling narrative while also creating some separation from the Flyers and perhaps gain ground on the Panthers.