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Bruins Post Winning Record in California

With 4-1 win over Kings, Boston improves to 2-1-0 on road trip

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

LOS ANGELES - For nearly 35 minutes, the Bruins held on to a one-goal lead. 

 

That's not easy to do against the Kings, where the B's have to fight for every inch of ice. 

 

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak notched their 26th goals of the season to give Boston a 2-1 edge at STAPLES Center at 4:43 into the second period on Thursday night.

 

Anton Khudobin went to work between the pipes, posting 27 saves in the win, including 15 in the middle frame. The Bruins only allowed three shots on goal in the third period.
 

The Black & Gold had to wait for insurance, but it came in the form of two empty-netters in the final 1:02 from Dominic Moore and David Krejci.

The victory helped the Bruins finish the California portion of their four-game road trip at 2-1-0, with just one game remaining against Dallas on Sunday (12:30 p.m. EST on NBC, 98.5 The Sports Hub).

 

Thursday marked the second game of a back-to-back, with the B's playing in Anaheim the night before and dropping a 5-3 game to the Ducks that they felt they should have won. 

 

"It's a big character win," Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said following the 4-1 win over LA. "It's back-to-back games, even though we just had our break, so we're fairly refreshed. It's not easy to do in this league, play big, heavy teams back to back and this is a good hockey club."

 

"And the way we won the game, I don't think we lucked out - we had a couple of breaks with the crossbar, but we also had a goal called back, so I don't think there was anything that we look back and wipe our brow and say we got away with either, you know?"

 

"We did what we had to do, we played a solid game," Cassidy continued. "And San Jose was a tough one, and [Wednesday in Anaheim] and I thought we could have won there as well, so to come out West and play three very good hockey clubs and come out with two wins, that bodes well for our team."

 

Maintaining the one-goal lead - and not allowing a late goal - was imperative.

 

"Yeah, working backwards, we needed to play the third period what the Bruins are known for over the years, tight defensive layers," said Cassidy. "We managed the puck well, we even got some chances on our own to extend the lead, eventually did it with the net empty."

 

Early in the game, Marchand struck first for the Bruins at 3:16 into the opening frame to record his 26th goal of the season. 

 

After winning a battle along the boards, he drew a hooking penalty, and sped up ice before snapping a shot above the glove of Kings netminder Peter Budaj. It marked Marchand's 16th goal in his past 20 games. 

 

"It just seems like right now everyone's focused and we knew we had to have a big bounce back game, and guys were determined," said Marchand. 

 

Video: BOS@LAK: Marchand beats Budaj to open scoring

 

Khudobin made his first start since Feb. 11 against Vancouver (a 4-3 win in Cassidy's second game at the helm) and just his second NHL start since Dec. 23. 

 

At just 1:30 in, Khudobin made back-to-back saves on Dwight King before Boston made a good clear by Boston. Kyle Clifford then missed on the doorstep, sending the puck through the blue paint, and Dustin Brown rang the post. 

 

"I thought he was very good against Vancouver, it was a wide open game, but in this atmosphere - he seems to be finding his game," said Cassidy. "That's two in a row he's given us a chance to win and that's what you want out of your goaltending, and listen, we're like every other team, we need good goaltending to prosper, and we got it."

 

"We had our share of breakdowns, there's no doubt, and he was there for us," said Cassidy. "Again, that's what you want and he responded very well and it's good for his confidence. He's worked hard to find his game."

 

Video: BOS@LAK: Khudobin flashes the leather on Doughty

 

The Kings' lone goal came on the power play with 1:48 to go in the first period. Khudobin saved the shot from the point, but the rebound popped out, and Kevin Gravel put it in from the right hash marks for his first NHL goal.  

 

The Bruins appeared to have taken a 2-1 lead just 45 seconds later, when Peter Cehlarik fired a shot by Budaj after being set up by Krejci off the rush. The goal would have been the first of Cehlarik's five game NHL career. 

 

The Kings used their Coach's Challenge to challenge that the play was offside, and won the decision. 

 

The Black & Gold finally got their 2-1 lead in the second period while on the power play. Pastrnak snapped his stick as he fired a one-timer from the left circle, and the puck took a fortuitous bounce through Budaj's five-hole. 

 

Pastrnak joined Marchand with 26 goals on the season. Ryan Spooner set up the play with a cross-ice feed from the half wall. Pastrnak had just missed on a one-timer attempt earlier on the man advantage. 

 

"Lucky bounce, great pass, and fortunate goal," said Pastrnak, whose goal stood as the game-winner. He was glad he could help the team rebound from Wednesday's loss in Anaheim. 

 

Video: BOS@LAK: Pastrnak breaks stick on knuckleball PPG

 

"That's the good thing about back-to-backs, you lose a game and then you have the chance to bounce right back the next day, so that's all we were focusing on and very happy for us that we could bounce back," said Pastrnak. 

 

Boston got some help from the posts, with LA hitting multiple throughout the night, including one from Anze Kopitar at 1:07 into the second that would have given the Kings a 2-1 lead. 

 

The Bruins' penalty kill came up with a huge effort in the second period, with Khudobin leading the way, and right after the kill, the B's netminder pulled out a tremendous glove stop on Jeff Carter from the slot. 

 

Video: BOS@LAK: Khudobin stretches to deny Carter's backhand

 

The Black & Gold were outshot 15-7 in the middle frame, and Khudobin was excellent, stopping all 15 of the Kings' shots. 

 

"I had another opportunity to play, so it's always great," said Khudobin. "As I always say, it's always great when you're winning, and it always [stinks] when you're losing, so no matter how you play, good or bad, you always want to win, that's the final result. So but confidence is good, I need still to keep working hard, and keep going, keep going."

 

The Bruins will now enjoy a day off after a solid swing through California. They'll have a practice day to regroup on Saturday before facing the Stars on Sunday morning.

 

"These are three tough buildings to play in and over the years, the Bruins have had their struggles," Cassidy said of the trip through San Jose, Anaheim, and Los Angeles. "So I think not only the four points - [it's] just mentally speaking, knowing you can play against good solid, big teams. It helps you. For me, personally, I played for Darryl Sutter for two and a half years and have the utmost respect for him, he was one of the best coaches I ever played for, so it was nice to go head to head, our club against his."

 

"It's huge [to get the points]. You know, I think this trip is a really good indication of how you match up against certain teams," said Marchand. "They are very strong teams out this way and they play a very tough game, so it was great to see that we've been doing well so far, and we have another big game coming up on Sunday."

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