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Surging Bruins host struggling Kings

by John Kreiser
KINGS (12-6-0) at BRUINS (11-5-1)

-- FS-West (HD); NESN (HD)

Last 10 -- Los Angeles 6-4-0; Boston 6-3-1

Season series -- It's the first of two meetings this season between the teams, who also face each other in Los Angeles on Jan. 24. The Kings have won the last three games, including a pair of shootout victories last season. They've also won their last three trips to Boston.

Big story -- It's not that the wheels are coming off for the Kings, but they've certainly hit their first pothole of the season with three consecutive losses, including a 4-2 defeat at Buffalo on Friday. Given their struggles this week, it's probably not a good time to face the Bruins, who've won all three of their games this week and allowed just two goals -- including back-to-back shutouts at home.

Team Scope:

Kings -- L.A. was 5-0-0 against Eastern Conference teams before beginning a four-game road trip with the loss in Buffalo. Dustin Brown and Wayne Simmonds twice gave the Kings one-goal leads, but they were unable to hang on. Thomas Vanek tied it late in the second, and third-period goals by Tim Connolly and Jochen Hecht sent the Kings to Boston with a three-game losing streak.

It’s definitely not a good feeling, to say the least," center Anze Kopitar said. "We’ve got to figure out how to turn this thing around real quick, before this ends up in a long losing streak. There’s a big two points up for grabs tomorrow, and we have to make sure we get them.”

Bruins -- Life is good again for Boston forward Milan Lucic. After an injury-plagued season in 2009-10, he's healthy, having fun -- and putting pucks in the net. He leads the Bruins with 10 goals, including the first three in Thursday's 4-0 victory against the Florida Panthers.

"I feel like I’m skating better and I feel like that’s what’s giving me my chances. And when I’m moving my feet, that’s when I feel like I’m most affective," Lucic told the Bruins' website. "I just feel confident every time I have an opportunity to score and I’m shooting the puck.

Who's hot -- Kings forward Justin Williams had his 11-game points streak snapped on Friday. … Lucic has 4 goals in his last two games and is 5-2-7 in his last five. … Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is 10-1-0 and leads the NHL with four shutouts.

Injury report -- Kings forward Scott Parse is on IR and will have hip surgery next week. … Boston center David Krejci (concussion) is out. Another center, Marc Savard, is practicing without contact as he tries to come back after a severe concussion last season. He'll join the team for next week's two-game swing through Florida.

Stat pack -- The Kings allowed a pair of power-play goals on Friday after surrendering only seven in their first 17 games. … The Bruins are 44-12-6-2 all-time against the Kings in Boston, though the Kings have won their last three visits to TD Garden.

Puck drop
-- Kings coach Terry Murray is hoping the hometown factor comes into play on this trip for his goaltenders. Milford, Conn., native Jonathan Quick, who played his college hockey at Massachusetts, is expected to start against the Bruins, while Jonathan Bernier, a native of Laval, Que., who played Friday, is scheduled to start Wednesday at Montreal -- his first professional appearance in his native province.

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