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Kings clinch playoff berth in 2-1 win over Boston

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES – Saturday night proved to be a prime example of the Kings’ sound defensive structure in their 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins at STAPLES Center.

Blocking 17 shots and killing off all four of the Bruins’ power play opportunities, the Kings clung to a one-goal lead for the better majority of the game, keeping Boston off the board late while being outshot by a 10-2 margin during the final period.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game,” noted Vincent Lecavalier. “But Quickie made some big saves, we got it done on the PK, which was great tonight.”

With the win, and thanks to help from an Arizona Coyotes loss earlier in the evening, the Kings clinched a berth for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is the 29th time in franchise history the team has qualified for the postseason, the sixth time in the last seven years.

“It’s huge,” Milan Lucic said of qualifying. “That’s the goal of the season, is to clinch a playoff spot, especially as a early as you can. Hopefully we keep playing that hard-nosed style of hockey, that playoff-style of hockey.”

Tanner Pearson netted the first goal of the night when, from the high-slot, redirected a Luke Schenn shot up and over the right shoulder to Tuukka Rask to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.

For Pearson, it was his 13th goal of the season, a new career-high; he scored 12 goals last season.

Just over two minutes into the second period, Alec Martinez rifled home the Kings’ second goal of the night, upping the lead to two when his shot beat Rask high to the glove side.

With 14:14 minutes left to play in the middle frame, Tyler Randell got the Bruins on the board when he fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat Jonathan Quick far side.

The Kings held on for the win, sweeping their season series against the Bruins.

Six different players led the Kings in points scored (1), Alec Martinez in shots taken (4), Luke Schenn in hits delivered (4), Luke Schenn in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:36). Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in the win.

The Kings now venture out on a three-game road trip, which begins Monday night when they take on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 5:00 PM PST.

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