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Pregame Notebook vs. Los Angeles

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
Bostonbruins.com - The Boston Bruins will take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight in their final road game before the All-Star break. 


It’s the second meeting of the season between the two clubs and the B’s only visit to the Staples Center during 2010-11.

The first time the two teams squared off this season, on Nov. 20 in TD Garden, the Kings squeaked out a 4-3 shootout victory. 

Boston will look to avenge that loss tonight while also trying to improve their Western Conference record. 

Coming in to tonight’s match-up Boston is 2-3-2 against the Western Conference with a 1-2-1 record against Pacific Division opponents. 

Beat LA
Los Angeles Kings' Dwight King (74) reaches for the puck after his shot was deflected by Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in Boston. The Kings won 4-3 in a shootout. (AP Photo/ Michael Dwyer)
The Bruins and Kings are meeting for just the 128th time in their histories. Boston has a 78-33-13-3 record against LA with a 529-405 scoring edge.

Despite the Bruins franchise success against the Kings, Boston is not taking their Western Conference foe lightly.

“They’re a young team that’s got a lot of talent on it, but at the same time they haven’t allowed that many shots,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said after yesterday’s team practice in LA. 

“We’re going to have to work to get a lot of shots on net and that’s what we kind of worked on today you know puck possession and then you know being able to be strong on it and find ways to take it to the net.

“They’re young and they’re very talented and they’re an up and coming team and I think they’re a team that’s got good speed, good size and they’re well balanced.”

Bruins rookie forward Brad Marchand is focused on taking advantage of whatever scoring opportunities come his way.

“They’re very strong defensively in their own end, you know I think they give up the least shots in the league so it’s gonna be a battle (today),” he said.

“You know they’ve got a lot of skilled forwards over there and we have to make sure we bring it.”

Bruins Switch-up Lines
Sunday morning, Bruins center Marc Savard was sent back to Boston to be evaluated after taking a hard hit along the end boards at 3:19 in the second period of Saturday’s 6-2 Bruins win over the Colorado Avalanche. 

In Savard’s absence, the B’s were forced to make some line changes at their practice on Sunday in Los Angeles. 

“We had to move some guys around today and we’re going to probably start with that tomorrow and see where that takes us,” Julien said after the practice. 

“And if we have to make some more adjustments I think we have some other ideas on how to work things around.” 

During the B’s Sunday workout, David Krejci centered Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic and Daniel Paille skated on a line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

The B’s rookie forward Tyler Seguin centered a trio with Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler. 

“Putting [Tyler Seguin] up on the wing has taken some of that responsibility that center has away from him and allows him to develop a little bit more comfortably,” Julien said.

“At the same time we also know he can play center and when one of those guys goes down it’s easy to re-insert him in there because he can still do the job and he’s a really good skater and when he has open ice.”

The Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi line will remain intact. 

Boston Rolls on the Road
From left, Boston Bruin's Johnny Boychuk (55), Mark Recchi (28), Patrice Bergeron (37) and Brad Marchand (63) come together to celebrate Recchi's goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011, in Denver. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Coming into tonight’s game, the Bruins have taken points out of their last nine road games with a 6-0-3 record in that span. 

Their last regulation road loss came to Montreal on Dec. 16 in a 4-3 setback.

“The road’s been good to us this year.  We’ve played some great games and somehow our guys seem to really be prepared and they seem to bond well together on the road,” Julien said Friday before the B’s headed out to the west coast. 

Boston has the second best road record in the league (15-5-4), trailing only the Philadelphia Flyers (17-5-3) and the Bruins have collects over half of their overall points while away from TD Garden (34 of 61). 

“Lately we’ve been playing pretty good on the road so hopefully we can continue that and…get as many points as we can,” Krejci said of the Bruins western road trip. 

Tonight, the Bruins will look to continue their road success with a simple strategy. 

“For the road team it’s more capitalizing on the other teams mistakes and you know take their shot out of it and just playing solid.  I mean we need these two points, two more games to go before the break and they’re important points to pick up,” Campbell said. 

Fresh Faces for B’s Goaltenders
Whomever stands between the pipes for Boston today, be it Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask, will look to pick up their first career win against the Los Angeles Kings.

In four games against the Kings Thomas has a 0-0-4 record with a 2.46 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

Rask’s only career appearance against LA came in overtime, where Rask didn’t record a decision. 

Both Rask and Thomas are among league leaders in goaltending statistics. 

Thomas, who was named the NHL's #1 star for last week, leads the league in goals against average (1.83), save percentage (.945) and share the league lead in shutouts (7) with the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist. 

Rask is eighth in the league in save percentage with a .923 mark.

---Hannah Becker
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