Game Day Preview: Kings at Bruins
The Bruins and former teammate Milan Lucic have had this date circled on their calendars for quite some time. That anticipation hits reality tonight when the Black and Gold host the Los Angeles Kings for the first of their two meetings this season.
Fresh off their home and home sweep of the Sabres, the Bruins find themselves in a three-way tie for second place in the Atlantic Division. Their 62 points match the Lightning and Red Wings as the three sit six points behind the first place Florida Panthers.
Against the Pacific Division leading Kings, the Bruins are going to need to match a heavy LA team stride for stride if they want to come away with two points — and hit the .500 mark at home — before their season-long six-game road trip begins in Winnipeg on Thursday.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 28-18-6 (62 points), Kings 31-17-3 (65 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo-Max Talbot-Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara-Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Morrow
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Kings projected lines
Milan Lucic-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown
Dwight King-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli
Marian Gaborik-Vincent Lecavalier-Trevor Lewis
Tanner Pearson-Nick Shore-Kyle Clifford
Jake Muzzin-Drew Doughty
Alec Martinez-Luke Schenn
Brayden McNabb-Jamie McBain
Matchup to watch: Bergeron line vs. Muzzin/Doughty pairing
All the media attention will go to Lucic vs. his former team and deservingly so. For the sake of X’s and O’s, we’re going to go with a different matchup to watch.
Of all the defensive pairs that the Bruins’ top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Brett Connolly have faced this season, the Kings’ top defensive pairing of Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin might be their stiffest test to date. Doughty, considered as one of the Norris Trophy favorites, is growing into one of the best two-way defensemen in the game. Muzzin, while still young, is progressing in his role as Doughty’s competent counterpart.
While Bergeron and Marchand — who enters tonight having tallied a goal in each of his last nine games — continue to be one of the more consistent Bruins, they could greatly benefit tonight if Connolly can find a way to break out of his season-long slump against the Kings top D pair.
Storyline to watch: Milan Lucic’s return
We’re just hours away from Lucic’s long-awaited return since being traded to the Kings on Draft Day. Bruins Daily will have complete reaction on what will be an emotional night for the Vancouver-born power forward.