The B's will play the surprising Kings at the Staples Center and try to take home what once seemed like an unthinkable four out of six points, prior to Thursday's thrilling win over San Jose.
The Kings, meanwhile, will be trying to hang onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with the defending Western Conference champion Red Wings breathing down their necks. L.A. shut out a hot Anaheim team on Thursday night and will try to do the same to the Bruins on Saturday. This is a big game for both teams and should be a great inter-conference battle.
WHEN AND WHERE
Saturday, Jan. 16, 4 p.m. ET (NESN)
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
Bruins (23-16-7, 53 points, second place in Northeast Division, tied for fifth place in Eastern Conference)
Kings (26-18-3, 55 points, third place in Pacific Division, eighth place in Western Conference)
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the first of two meetings between the Kings and Bruins. The two clubs will meet again two weeks from Saturday at the TD Garden.
Last season, in their only meeting, the Kings beat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime.
The Bruins lead the all-time series 78-33-13-1
If the Bruins go on to do something big this season and in the playoffs, they will have Thursday's 2-1 shootout win over the Sharks to look back on as a turning point. The Bruins entered a raucous HP Pavilion as underdogs, and behind an amazing performance by Tim Thomas (41 saves, four more in the shootout) and a Zdeno Chara shootout goal, they stunned the NHL's best team.
"It was a huge statement game for us, especially with so many challenges facing us," said Chara. "With our three centermen out of the lineup, it was just one of those games where we totally sacrificed everything for the team. We really deserved to win [Thursday]. We left everything out there and everybody chipped in. Everybody made some small points that made a big difference in the end."
Now, the B's have a chance to build off that momentum and finally get on a roll.
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Michael Ryder
Marco Sturm–Mark Recchi–Miroslav Satan
Milan Lucic–Steve Begin–Byron Bitz
Daniel Paille–Trent Whitfield–Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara–Dennis Wideman
Adam McQuaid–Johnny Boychuck
Matt Hunwick–Derek Morris
Alexander Frolov–Anze Kopitar–Scott Parse
Ryan Smyth–Jarret Stoll–Wayne Simmonds
Brad Richardson–Michal Handzus–Dustin Brown
Raitis Ivanans–Oscar Moller–Brandon Segal
Drew Doughty–Rob Scuderi
Sean O'Donnell–Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez–Randy Jones
Bruins Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas is 13-11-5 with a 2.38 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Thomas has four shutouts.
Tuukka Raskis 10-5-2 with a 2.04 GAA, a .930 save percentage and two shutouts. Rask is second in the NHL in GAA and save percentage.
Kings Erik Ersberg
Jonathan Quick is 24-15-3 with a 2.53 GAA and a .908 save percentage. Quick, a former UMass-Amherst goalie, stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 4-0 shutout win over Anaheim on Thursday, his first shutout of the season.
Erik Ersbergis 2-3-0 with a 3.21 GAA and a .892 save percentage.
Bruins Zdeno Chara Marco Sturm Daniel Paille
Patrice Bergeron leads the team in points (11 goals, 20 assists) with 31.
Zdeno Charascored the shootout winner on Thursday night in San Jose and is tied for second in points on the Bruins with 27. He leads the team in assists with 23. Chara also leads the defense in assists and points.
Marco Sturmleads the Bruins with 15 lamplighters. He has 24 points.
Daniel Paillescored the Bruins' lone regulation goal on Thursday night. He has five goals and seven assists. The Bruins killed off both San Jose power plays on Thursday. They’ve allowed only 20 goals on 163 power plays faced and lead the NHL with an 87.7 percent success rate. The Bruins' power play was 0-for-2 on Thursday night and is now 28-for-157 with a 17.8 percent success rate.
Anze Kopitar leads the team in goals (18), assists (27) and points with 45.
Drew Doughty leads the Kings’ blue line with 26 assists and 35 points.
Dustin Brown is third on the team with 31 points.
BLACK AND BLUE
Marc Savard could be out for two more weeks with a knee injury but says he is recovering well.
Andrew Ference is out for at least five more weeks with an injured groin.
Patrice Bergeron (broken thumb) has been practicing with the team and could return next Monday at TD Garden against the Senators.
Mark Stuart (broken sternum) is on injured reserve.
David Krejci missed Thursday's game with an undisclosed injury.
Matt Greene missed L.A.'s last game with a lower body injury and is day-to-day.
Davis Drewiske missed Thursday's game with a sprained shoulder and is expected to be out until late January.
Justin Williams has missed seven straight games and is on injured reserve with a broken ankle. He is expected to be out until at least late March.
Andrei Loktionov is on injured reserve with a dislocated shoulder. He is expected to be out of action until at least March.
THIS DATE IN BRUINS HISTORY
On Jan. 16, 1972, Derek Sanderson registers a hat trick and five points while Mike Walton and Eddie Westphal each record five points as well in a 9-2 win over Detroit.
"We needed Timmy [Thomas] to steal us one and he did. Our top guys had to be our top guys, and Z [Zdeno Chara] had so much ice time playing against those big [offensive] guys all night. [Mark] Recchi, a guy that has been out of position, had over 20 minutes of ice. Daniel Paille had a great game and [Matt] Hunwick was unbelievable. You can go down the list. Our team just showed up tonight and it was nice to see them get rewarded with a win."
–Bruins head coach Claude Julien on the Bruins' collective effort against San Jose
The Bruins made a huge statement with their gritty 2-1 shootout win over the league-leading Sharks on Thursday.
David Krejci is out with an undisclosed injury.
The Bruins are interested in Ilya Kovalchuk and may be able to acquire the Russian sniper.
The Kings are one of a growing number of NHL teams to hire a full-time beat writer and Rich Hammond does a great job with LA Kings Insider.
Here’s the game story from the Kings’ 4-0 shutout win over Anaheim on Thursday.
Kings goalie coach and former Bruins netminder Bill Ranford was on the Inside Hockey Radio Show recently and discussed the Kings' wealth of goaltending talent.
The Oilers are looking to rebuild and fix some cap problems.
Alex Ovechkin needs to fight his own.
The Whalers are back in Hartford … sort of.
If the Bruins could play the defensive, gritty, gutsy game they played in San Jose every game of the season, they would probably run away with the division and steam through the playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup. But alas, no one is perfect, and over the course of a season, all teams and players have off-nights. That being said, the win in San Jose showed what this team can do when it stays focused and works hard. Just imagine much better that effort will be when all the Bruins' star players are healthy.
But the likes of Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard won’t be back in there on Saturday, so the Bruins once again need to find a way to compensate for their absences. To do so, they will need a performance similar to Thursday's, and they will need to match what is a fast, quick-strike type of Kings team. Expect a hard-skating and physical contest from both teams in another crucial game for their respective playoff positioning.