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No Passengers Approach Serves Bruins Well

Boston gets complete team effort in win over Kings

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

LOS ANGELES - There was a simple refrain echoing throughout the Bruins dressing room on Thursday night, a uniformed message to describe a gutsy road effort against a hard-hitting opponent.

The commonality with which Boston labeled its much-needed victory over the Los Angeles Kings was a fitting microcosm of the game itself: everyone on the same page, moving in one direction, with a common goal.

It was that "no passengers" approach, as the Bruins termed it, that paced them to a 2-1 win over the Kings at Staples Center to snap a four-game losing skid and mark just their second road victory of the season.

"Everyone contributed. We really didn't need to shorten our bench, we weren't worried about certain individuals," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. "I thought everyone took it to heart to get the job done and do their part. I don't think we did anything fancy, or required any great individual effort. Team effort, no passengers, and everyone did their part."

Video: Khudobin leads Bruins to 2-1 win against Kings

All of Boston's offense came from its first defense pairing, as Charlie McAvoy kicked off the scoring with a stellar individual effort in the first period, while Zdeno Chara grabbed the winner with a slapper from the point late in the second.

"I thought we played a much better 60-minute game than we have in the last few," said McAvoy. "I don't want to say we played desperate, but in our room we really wanted to get a win…felt like it's been a while. So we put together a complete 60 minutes, no passengers tonight, everybody was on board and we walk away with two points."

A night after playing frantically in their own end during a loss to Anaheim, the B's clamped down defensively, allowing just 28 shots on goal and limiting second-chance opportunities in front of Anton Khuodbin, making the Kazahkstan native's life much simpler as he picked up his fourth win of the season (4-0-2).

"Having people in front, it's a big team…we tried to do our best to either make big blocks or the clears," said Chara, who was named the game's No. 1 star. "For the most part we did a really good job. That's what you need, guys sacrificing themselves to block shots - a lot of guys did. Strong on those clears and obviously Dobby was making big saves for us."

Video: Bruins speak to media after 2-1 win over Kings

After Chara's tally gave Boston a lead late in the second, the Bruins made sure to lock things down. That, of course, has not been an easy task of late, particularly last week in Toronto, when Boston surrendered a lead late in regulation and went on to lose in OT.

But backed by a bit of desperation, the Bruins hunkered down and allowed only five shots on goal in the third period.

"It's been an issue for us, closing out games," said Cassidy. "We went through it in Toronto, we were unable to do it. Our guys were sick of losing probably and you learn some lessons along the way and you've got to be better off for it.

"This was our next opportunity to do it and we did it and I thought we did it well…we didn't look scrambly, we didn't look like we lose our composure and poise."

More observations from Boston's big victory in L.A.:

McAvoy was a beast: The Bruins' rookie blue liner put forth one of the strongest individual efforts of the season. Not only was his goal a thing of beauty, but the 19-year-old also blocked four shots, delivered four hits, and logged a hefty 27 minutes, 53 seconds of ice time.

On the goal, Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff back to McAvoy, who turned on the jets and scurried down the half wall before turning hard to the net. With plenty of open ice, McAvoy charged towards Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and roofed a backhander over the netminder's shoulder for a 1-0 Bruins lead with 3:54 to go in the first.

Video: BOS@LAK: McAvoy beats Quick with nifty backhander

"We want him to be more involved offensively within his limits," said Cassidy. "He has to find out those limits in the league. He's getting them. You're starting to see a little more activity. Down some of scoring we need it. Maybe he thought tonight without Torey [Krug], a puck mover that would occupy a lot of those minutes, that he could take charge in that area.

"We'd like him to take charge with Torey in there, just, again, within what he's comfortable with and what's available to him. He's got it in him. He's young and he's gonna figure it out as he goes along."

Chara bounces back: The Bruins captain was an unlikely minus-3 against the Ducks, but rebounded nicely by posting four shots on goal and a plus-2 rating in over 26 minutes of ice time.

Chara gave Boston the lead for good when he corralled a Paul Postma shot that had rimmed around the boards and launched his signature slapper from the left point. With Frank Vatrano and Jordan Szwarz providing the cover with strong screens in the slot, the puck tipped off a Kings defender in front and squirted by Quick to give the B's a 2-1 advantage with 6:44 remaining in the second.

Postma's helper was his first point of the season. Danton Heinen picked up the other assist and posted a plus-2 rating in over 17 minutes of ice time.

Video: BOS@LAK: Chara nets goal off defender's stick

Boston had its 1-2 punch: David Krejci returned from an upper-body injury that had sidelined him for the last 11 games, providing the Bruins with it's patented 1-2 center combination of Krejci and Bergeron.

"It creates matchups for the other team as well," said Cassidy. "You've got two experienced guys that have played in this league, that have won a Stanley Cup, that have all kinds of accolades. You have your one-two punch. You ask any team in the league, any coach, it's nice to have that luxury."

Krejci played a tad over 18 minutes, centering Jake DeBrusk and Peter Cehlarik for much of the night. He did not register a shot on goal, but won 59 percent of his draws (10 of 17) and reported no issues after the game.

"I felt pretty good. My legs were there from the first shift," said Krejci. "My hands, the power play helped and got me back into it. For first game back, pretty good."

It was physical: There has not been a more rough-and-tumble game this season, with the teams combining for 76 hits. Danton Heinen was on the receiving end of the biggest check of the night as he was rocked just inside Boston's blue line by Christian Folin early in the second period.

"That's L.A. We responded well," said Cassidy. "We're OK in that type of game. We're seeing it out of our younger guys too, like on the wall Heinen recovered well from a big hit, [Jake] DeBrusk was handling it, Peter [Cehlarik's] a big guy. Pasta's had to go through it. You have to be able to play in those games. I thought we were comfortable in that game and sometimes that brings the best out of us."

Dobby may get another nod: Cassidy did not rule out the possibility that Khudobin could play again on Saturday against San Jose. Boston's backup netminder beat the Sharks in Boston on Oct. 26, allowing one goal on 37 shots.

"We're gonna look at it," said Cassidy. "He played very well against San Jose last time. They're a heavy team, he seems to do well in these types of games, a lot of traffic around the net. We'll look at that decision [on Friday]."

Video: BOS@LAK: Khudobin denies Brown's redirection

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