Looking to end their California trip on a high note with their second win in three games, the Bruins got the performance they needed and flew out to Dallas in the early morning with four out of six points. Behind key goals from Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and then 27 saves from Anton Khudobin, the B’s picked up two important points as the Eastern Conference playoff race continues to be a logjam.
Here is what we learned from the Bruins’ 4-1 victory over the Kings on Thursday night:
California trip finally brings success
Dominic Moore’s sealed the deal against the Kings with one of the Bruins’ two empty-netters in the third period. (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)
The Bruins haven’t had a winning trip in California since the 2011-12 season where they were victorious in two of their three contests. This time around the Bruins were solid in all three games and if it wasn’t for a few defensive breakdowns and bad puck luck Wednesday in Anaheim, Bruce Cassidy’s club easily could have collected all six points that were up for grabs.
“San Jose was a tough one and yesterday [Wednesday in Anaheim] I thought we could have won there as well,” the Bruins’ interim coach told the media following Thursdays win. “So to come out west and play three very good hockey clubs and come out with two wins, that bodes well for our team.”
Marchand takes back the team lead in goals
With his first period tally, Marchand took over the team lead in goals, now with 26. Marchand entered Thursday’s contest tied with Pastrnak for the team lead. Marchand is on pace to hit the 30-goal mark for the second season in a row. The pesky forward had a career-high 37 last year. Marchand’s lone lead lasted one period as Pastrnak’s second period power play tally once again put the third-year forward’s name next to Marchand atop the Bruins goal scoring list. Expect the two to trade goals and team scoring leads all season long.
Bruins on the wrong side of coaches challenge, again
Forty-five seconds after Kevin Gravel’s first career National Hockey League goal tied the game at 1-1, the Bruins appeared to regain the lead, this time on one of their own’s first career NHL goal. However, the Bruins kryptonite struck again.
After Peter Cehlarik appeared to notch the first of his young NHL career, the play was challenged and quickly reversed as Pastrnak was offsides. If the NHL kept track of how many goals have been reversed due to the coaches challenge, the Bruins would no doubt lead the league.
Power play bounces back
The Bruins power play in February has been lights out. The top power play unit of Marchand, Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug have really given the Bruins man advantage a spark.
As good as the man advantage has been, the Bruins power play found themselves in a mini slump entering Thursday. After failing to score a power play goal in their first two games in California, the Bruins got back on track with Pastrnak’s second period tally. The Bruins power play only had one chance against the Kings, but they made the most of it.
Khudobin comes up big
As they continue to battle with several other teams for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins will lean on Anton Khudobin even more as they look to pick up some wins when Tuukka Rask gets a breather.
Khudobin put forth his best performance of the season in the 27-save effort for his third win of the season. The Russian netminder was especially sharp in the second period, keeping the Kings at bay with their one goal.
The Bruins hope this is a confidence booster for Khudobin and the veteran goalie can help the team from here on out.
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