Pregame notes: Bruins @ Kings | Jan. 16, 2010
The Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings will be facing off for the 126th time in their lifetime series at the Staples Center today at 4pm EST. The B’s hold a 78-33-13-1 record over the Kings, while outscoring LA 521-394, lifetime.
Team USA representatives Tim Thomas, [13-11-5, .921 SV%, 2.38 GAA, 4 SO] and Jonathan Quick [24-15-3, .908 SV%, 2.53 GAA, and 1 SO] will be eyeing each other from some 180 ft. away for 60 minutes this afternoon, in their first of two meetings this season.
Home Team – LA Kings: 26-18-3, 55 points, 3rd Pacific Division, 8th Western Conference. 4-6-0 in their last 10 games and 12-8-2 at home on the season.
While prepping for this preview, I had to search for some real insight on the Kings. Not just surfing the web and looking up stats, but insight from the people with first-hand info and who never miss a game – especially since these two teams don’t face each other as much as we’d like. Frankie, aka Boom, is as big of a hockey-head as there is, and is as die-hard about the Kings as I am with the Black and Gold.
Who to watch out for: So, for the player on the Kings, “who to watch“ is Wayne Simmonds [11-14-25 and a team-high plus-16]. Frankie said of Simmonds, “He was moved up to the top line last night [Thursday] and produced with a goal. He has been awesome since Williams went down with an injury, he also filled in when Smyth was out of the lineup too. He is like Lucic a bit”
Any player who’s like Lucic a bit is a player whom I must keep a close eye on. They’re both No. 17; both Canadian natives; both second-round draft picks; and both are 21-year-old up-and-comers.
Anze Kopitar, the squad’s leader in goals , assists , and points  has 2-3-5 totals and 18 shots on goal in his last five contests.
Alexander Frolov is riding a two-game scoring streak – two assists, plus-3, and 10 shots on net.
Representing Team USA in the upcoming Winter Olympics, probably as the No. 3 goaltender, Kings’ netminder Jonathan Quick has played in 42 of the team’s 47 games this season. The 23-year-old has posted a 3-2-0 record over his last five starts, including a 22 save performance on Thursday night against West Coast foes, Anaheim Ducks.
Ryan Smyth – Anze Kopitar – Wayne Simmonds
Alexander Frolov – Michal Handzus – Dustin Brown
Brad Richardson – Jarret Stoll – Scott Parse
Raitis Ivanans – Oscar Moller – Brandon Segal
Drew Doughty – Rob Scuderi
Jack Johnson – Sean O’Donnell
Peter Harrold – Randy Jones [yes, THAT Randy Jones]
IR: Richard Clune, Andrei Loktionov , Justin Williams, Davis Drewiske
Home Team – Boston Bruins: 23-16-7, 53 points, 3rd Northeast Division, 5th Eastern Conference. 5-5-0 in their last 10 and 10-8-4 on the road this season.
Both teams are in dire need of a win today to remain in the playoff hunt – and are both coming off big victories on Thursday night. The Bruins, a team that has been injury-stuck all season long, has had some unexpected and unsung heroes as of late.
For those on the west coast who haven’t seen the reigning Vezina and Norris Trophy winners – here it is. Tim Thomas backstopped the Bruins with a 41 save performance on Thursday, plus all four in the shootout, with a 2-1 over the Ducks. Blue-liner extraordinaire Zdeno Chara – the leam’s leader in plus-minus [+8] and shots on goal  – scored the game-winning shootout goal on Thursday night. This was after logging roughly 27 minutes of ice time – almost all against the Heatley–Thornton–Marleau line. The 6’9″ All Star will most definitely be on the ice, once again, against the Kings’ top-line at all times.
Who to watch out for: This could be a slew of players. Naturally, Chara and Thomas will be the game-breakers, but it was the overall performance by the team in which won Thursday’s game. Keep an eye on the fourth-line, as they look to repeat their performances of the other night.
Daniel Paille, acquired by the B’s on Oct. 20, 2009, has been rock-solid on Boston’s penalty-kill [1st in the NHL 87.7%]. Paille helped his offense by netting the lone regulation goal on Thursday night, and had a team-high seven shots on goal.
Side note: The Bruins have now killed 47 of their last 51 times short [92.3%]; and have not allowed more than one power play goal against since Oct. 17, 2009.
Sin Bin: For getting paid $4MM per season and having expectations of 30-goal seasons, Michael Ryder’s lack of production is reminiscent of his last season in Montreal. He’s just been plain ‘ol bad for Boston this year. Just 10-8-18 in 46 games this season, Ryder’s hasn’t lit the lamp in nine games – and has 2-2-4 and a plus-1 rating in his last 15 games.
Marco Sturm – Mark Recchi – Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler – Vladimir Sobotka – Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic – Steve Begin – Byron Bitz
Daniel Paille – Trent Whitfield – Shawn Thornton
Chara – Wideman
McQuaid – Morris
Boychuk – Hunwick
Injury list: Defenseman Mark Stuart [sternum] and forward Patrice Bergeron [thumb] each made the road trip, but only Stuart is possible for action. Marc Savard [knee], David Krejci [undisclosed], and Andrew Ference [groin] are other injured B’s.