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Khudobin Between the Pipes for Battle with Kings

Bruins finish back-to-back in LA on Thursday night

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

LOS ANGELES - The Bruins cap off their Southern California back-to-back on Thursday night when they face off against the Los Angeles Kings at STAPLES Center. 


Game time is set for 10:30 p.m. EST on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub (7:30 local time). 


Boston is looking to earn the two points that they could have taken from the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday night. They fell short in that game, with 5-3 being the final score.  

The Black & Gold felt they could have, and should have, won that game, had they limited their defensive breakdowns. 


"At the end of the day, we had some coverage issues late and [we were] not being hard enough on the puck," Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Thursday, as his players were going through their various pregame routines. "I think those are the two biggest areas we need to improve on around the front of our net."


"It cost us [on Wednesday] night, and it's stuff we'll continue to address and hopefully correct moving forward."


The Bruins held a video session on Thursday morning, followed by an optional skate at STAPLES Center with about a dozen skaters hitting the ice, including Southern California native Kevan Miller. 


"We went over some video, little things to make sure we pay attention to tonight, then turn the page and get ready for these guys," said Miller. "So, different team, different night, hoping for a different outcome."


The energy was high, and the atmosphere positive. Usually, road back-to-backs involve flying and getting into a city late at night. For this one, the Bruins had a quick bus ride up to LA following Wednesday's game in Anaheim. 


"I generally do some sort of autopsy from the night before," Cassidy said of the morning routine. "We did it when we won games, some things we had to correct - for example, the San Jose game, I thought there were some things - and we did it a little bit this morning. Not too long, and we moved on to our special teams meetings, which is our ritual the morning of, and got ready for LA."


The Kings are coming off a 2-1 win over Colorado on Tuesday that snapped a three-game losing streak, but as Cassidy has been preaching, the focus needs to be on the Boston Bruins, and the rest will take care of itself. 



Lineup Changes


Cassidy noted that a lineup change will be made up front to insert some fresh legs, with Tim Schaller slotting back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Wednesday in Anaheim. Riley Nash will be a scratch for the first time this season after suiting up in the Bruins' first 60 games. 


Matt Beleskey will stay in the lineup.


"I thought he did his job, he brought energy. He's a good, responsible player," said Cassidy. "Their line did not create a ton of offense. They had some zone time, but it never resulted in a lot of chances at the net. But for the most part, he went in and played a good, solid team game, and hopefully he'll build off that tonight."


On defense, there could be a game-time decision. 


"On the back end, we're going to make a game-time decision if John Liles is going to go in," said Cassidy. "It's something we're still contemplating."


John-Michael Liles' last suited up in game action on Feb. 9 against San Jose - that is the only gamme he has played in the Bruins' last 10 games. He missed 20 games in December and January in his recovery from a concussion.


Khudobin Between the Pipes


Anton Khudobin will get the call between the pipes against LA. He last started a game on Feb. 11, earning the win as the Bruins defeated Vancouver 4-3 at TD Garden. 


"It's always great getting starts, so just got to feeling the puck a little bit in the morning, and now I'll get ready for a good lunch, nap, and now let's let it roll," Khudobin smiled after hitting the ice for a morning skate. 


The netminder hopes to build off his solid play against the Canucks, even if it was a couple of weeks ago. 


"I mean, you always try to think about your last game, what kind of feeling that you had, especially when you're not playing a lot," said Khudobin. "But this is a new game, a new opportunity, and I'm just getting ready for the opportunity."


He's ready to battle around the net, with the Kings heavy forwards bearing down. 


"I mean, a lot of teams like to do that. I've played against this team a couple of times, and they love to do that, but at the same time, there's always a healthy battle, it's always pretty good, so we'll see, maybe I'll give them a battle, too," he smiled. 


Czarnik, Morrow Assigned to Providence


On Thursday morning, General Manager Don Sweeney announced that the Bruins had taken forward Austin Czarnik off Injured Reserve and assigned him to the Providence Bruins. Czarnik had been previously placed on IR on Feb. 7 with a lower-body injury. He had been practicing with team on the trip to get up to speed. 


Sweeney also announced that defenseman Joe Morrow had been assigned to Providence for conditioning purposes. Morrow had last suited up in game action on Jan. 22. 


"[Morrow] hasn't played a lot. At his age, I think it's important he plays, so the conditioning assignment should get him some games, shake some of the rust off," said Cassidy. "And Czarnik, he's healthy enough to play. He hasn't played in a while, he's a young player, similar in terms of he needs to go play hockey again too, and then we'll see if he fits into our lineup."


Projected Lineup vs. Kings Feb. 23


Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes

Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak 

Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes 

Matt Beleskey-Dominic Moore-Tim Schaller


Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo 

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller-Colin Miller*


Starting Goalie: Anton Khudobin // Backup: Tuukka Rask


Scratch: Riley Nash


*Cassidy said there could be a game-time decision on defense, with John-Michael Liles possibly slotting into the lineup. 


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