Game Day Preview #19, Boston Bruins @ Los Angeles Kings

The OT GWG last time was nice but let’s try to wrap it up in regulation tonight, some of us are tired.

Preview: Boston Bruins (6-7-4) @ Los Angeles Kings (11-5-2)

Game Time: 7:30 PM, FS-W

I thought I was giving the Kings an easily attainable goal the other night.

Like, I’m pretty good at goal setting (#humblebrag) and I figured, let’s give the Kings a little one to start out with, see how they handle it.

Spoilers: they did not handle it well.

Teams like the Canucks -- teams at or near the bottom of the points barrel, teams who are struggling, teams engaged in a full scale tank -- always seem to give the Kings trouble. Whether it’s because they underestimate them, mentally want to take the night off, or something else, we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing the Kings drop a game or three against what are essentially draft lottery contenders.

The team being on a wobbly patch as of late -- 5-4-1 in their last ten, and three straight losses -- makes these losses to fairly meh teams stand out more. Lose to the Lightning, who are firmly establishing themselves as the top team in the league at the moment? A learning experience, a benchmark for where the Kings need to be. Lose to the Canucks? Maybe we need to sit down and think about what we’ve done.

The Bruins are in town tonight, seeking revenge for the Kings’ literal last second win in Boston last month. Quick, before we go on to anything else, let’s watch it again:

Okay, moving on.

Since that game, the Bruins have gone 2-4-2, with four straight losses, including a 4-2 loss last night to the Ducks. The Bruins massively outshot the Ducks and dominated in just about every metric that you could measure the game on, except for the whole “pucks in the net” category. John Gibson turned in a stellar performance and the Ducks managed to capitalize on small mistakes made by the Bruins to earn the win.

So, revenge for a buzzer beater. Making up for a poor game last night. The Bruins are out to turn around their fortunes, and they’re doing it with a roster that’s missing some very prominent names.  Out for the Bruins are David Backes, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid, Brad Marchand, and promising rookie Anders Bjork. David Krejci could possibly return tonight from a back injury, which would most likely bump out either Kenny Agostino or Jordan Szwarz from the forward corps.

Despite the whole plethora of new names for the Bruins, they’ve still got Patrice Bergeron. While he’s not putting a ton of pucks in the net (his four goals and seven assists have him as third on the team for points), he’s still indisputably leading the team. He leads the team, or is at the top of the list, for nearly every fancy hockey stat at 5v5 situations. Who’s driving possession? Who’s on ice for more shots for the Bruins than against? Who’s on the ice creating high danger changes? Patrice Bergeron.

The Bruins have an interesting crop of rookies ready to make an impact — don’t overlook Charlie McAvoy on defense — and despite a rough patch lately, they’re still not a team you can sleep on.

The Kings will see some lineup changes, after a last-minute trade swapped veteran Jussi Jokinen for veteran Mike Cammalleri. Jokinen wasn’t catching on in Edmonton, and Cammalleri wasn’t really being put in a position to succeed with Los Angeles, so it’s a change of scenery for both men. Jokinen will make his Kings debut tonight on the fourth line, where it looks like Andrew Crescenzi is being given a chance to play at center. Crescenzi won five of his eight faceoffs as the team relied on him over Brooks Laich or Mike Amadio to take the primary draws for that line. That entire line struggled for possession against the Canucks, so a wholesale swap of players isn’t entirely out of line. Laich will be a healthy scratch tonight, while Amadio was sent back down to Ontario earlier this morning.

In his place, Jonny Brodzinski was brought back up. Brodzinski, known as a prolific scorer and shooter during college and at the AHL, registered no shots during his previous three-game stint with the Kings this season. After returning to the Reign, he’s put up nine points in eight games (including a hat trick) and leads the team in shots with 36. Hopefully the stint with the Reign was a big confidence-booster for one of the Kings’ top prospects. He’s not exactly being put on a line that plays to his strengths, but at least is familiar with Crescenzi from their time in Ontario together. With how badly the fourth line has underperformed lately, any type of possession or momentum swing from that group will be welcome.

Projected Line Combinations

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo - Kopitar - Brown
Pearson - Kempe - Toffoli
Andreoff - Shore - Lewis
Jokinen - Crescenzi - Brodzinski

Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - Folin
MacDermid - Martinez


Boston Bruins

Cehlarik - Bergeron - Pastrnak
Vatrano - Szwarz - Heinen
Beleskey - Kuraly - DeBrusk
Schaller - Nash - Agostino

Chara - McAvoy
Krug - Carlo
O’Gara - Miller


Opposing Preview: Stanley Cup of Chowder