Kings aim to snap four-game skid against Bruins
Monday, 12.12.2011 / 4:04 PM
Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior WriterKINGS (13-12-4) at BRUINS (18-9-1)
FS-W (HD), NESN (HD)
Los Angeles 3-6-1; Boston 7-2-1
This is the first of two meets between the clubs this season. The Bruins will travel to Los Angeles to play the Kings on March 24.
The Kings fired coach Terry Murray on Monday, replacing him with ex-Flyers coach John Stevens on an interim basis. Stevens will coach the team against the Bruins, but the timeline for how long he remains the bench boss is still not known. Kings GM Dean Lombardi said he has a short list of potential replacements for Murray, but he did not have one in place when he fired him Monday. The Kings have lost four in a row and have fallen to 12th in the Western Conference.
Why was Murray fired? Well, the Kings have scored only six goals during their four-game losing streak and are dead last in the NHL with 2.21 goals per game. They've scored two or fewer goals in eight straight games.
It doesn't help that leading goal scorer Mike Richards
(11 goals) remains out of the lineup with a head injury suffered Dec. 1. He did not make the trip to Boston, but he still may join the club at some point during the nine-day, four-game road trip that continues in Columbus on Thursday.
, who leads the team with 28 points, hasn't scored a goal in eight games. Drew Doughty
has just 8 points and a minus-4 rating in 24 games. Justin Williams
has only 4 goals and Dustin Brown
has just 5. Dustin Penner
has been even less productive with only 2 goals and 5 points.
"I don't think words can ever describe how hard something like this is," Lombardi said on his conference call to talk about Murray's firing. "You're talking about, first off, a really good man. He really stabilized this franchise, pointed it in the right direction. He taught these players a lot. When they look back, they're going to realize they learned a lot from him."
The Bruins will likely be without captain Zdeno Chara
, who suffered a leg injury in Saturday's 5-3 win over Columbus. Chara was injured in the second period when the game was tied at 3-3, but the Bruins rallied for a pair of power-play goals in the third period to win it. Joe Corvo
scored twice against the Blue Jackets for his first two goals of the season.
Chara told reporters in Boston on Monday that he is feeling better than expected.
"The plan is to take it a day at a time," Chara said. "You can't really put a time frame on it. You basically have to see how it feels and it feels better than expected. Honestly, it's a stage right now where we can't talk about it any further than 24 hours ahead.''
Bruins forward Milan Lucic
snapped a three-game pointless streak with 3 assists Saturday. Corvo snapped a four-game pointless streak with his two goals against the Jackets.
Injury Report: Gregory Campbell
will likely join Chara in the press box with a left foot injury that he suffered in Saturday's win. He will be replaced by Steven Kampfer
. Richards is the key player missing from the Kings lineup.
The Bruins have scored 70 goals in their last 18 games while the Kings have scored only 65 in 29 games this season.
"This team came in with a very high level of expectations," Lombardi said. "And that puts a different perspective on your room and the young players. It's unique here in that you're counting on these young players. But the established players have to step up here. This year the expectations were higher, so it gets dicier."