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Preview (Kings @ Bruins): Los Angeles in Boston, always a threat!

The Kings road trip faces their toughest test yet.

Boston Bruins v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images

How to Watch

Game Time: 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time

TV: Fox Sports West, NESN

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Stanley Cup of Chowder

What to Watch

As we are one week away from Christmas Eve, the Los Angeles Kings make their way to Boston to face the Bruins. For Los Angeles, it’s always a threat to visit Boston. The rivalry and “Beat LA” chants in Beantown are still pretty much alive.

The Dodgers lost against the Red Sox in the World Series, and the Rams lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl not that long ago. One thing we have never really got to see is the Kings versus the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

In their prime years, they were awfully close to meet there. In 2012, the Bruins were the reigning champs, while the Kings won the Cup. In 2013, it was those pesky Blackhawks who prevented the Kings-Bruins Stanley Cup Final. During the 2014 Stanley Cup run for Los Angeles, the Bruins were the President´s Trophy winners.

Where are they five years later? The Kings won just one playoff game ever since 2014, while the Bruins were one win away from winning it all last season. After back-to-back 100-point seasons, the Bruins should reach 50 points easily before Christmas. They lead the Atlantic Division comfortably, while Los Angeles is at the bottom in the Pacific Division.

From their last six head-to-head contests, the Kings have just one win. You would remember that win, right?

Also, mentioning Tyler Toffoli right there, he is on the trade block in Los Angeles, no secret. Would the Bruins have an interest? They can see his play right in their facility tonight. Toffoli is red hot with seven points in his last four games. The Kings are also, kind of, red hot with a 3-0-1 record in their last four starts.

Finally, the Kings broke the trend on the road with wins in Anaheim and Detroit and a well-earned point from a game in Pittsburgh. In that tilt against the Penguins, the Kings came back from a late two-goal deficit. They made it a difficult night for the home favorites Pens. Tonight, they will visit another heavyweight and another black-and-gold team.

The Bruins are remarkably good. Just check the standings. However, they just snapped their five-game losing slide on Saturday in Florida. On the home ice, Boston has only one regulation loss and five overtime setbacks. That lone regulation loss came in the Bruins’ last home start. Therefore, they will try to win tonight to restore the peace. The Kings should be an easy opponent to do so against. However, we all know that Los Angeles likes to shoot a lot and to possess a puck a lot. And sometimes, it works wonders.

Talking about that fancy stat department, the Kings have a Corsi for percentage of 53.68, which ranks as the third-best in the league. They also have 53.34% in terms of expected goals for, which ranks as the sixth-best in the NHL. The Bruins are 16th and 17th respectively. Yet, those two clubs are separated by 17 points, with the advantage for the lower-ranked team. Sometimes, the advanced stats don’t mean a world.

Their very last head-to-head meeting at TD Garden came in February. It was a 5-4 overtime thriller, very similar to what we have witnessed on Saturday in Pittsburgh. Patrice Bergeron scored in overtime on the power play after a tripping call against... Ilya Kovalchuk.

Projected Lineups:

Boston Bruins

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
DeBrusk - Krejci - Coyle
Bjork - Kuraly - Heinen
Nordstrom - Wagner - Backes

Chara - McAvoy
Krug - Carlo
Moore - Grzelcyk

Rask (starter)
Halak (backup)

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Clifford – Carter – Lewis
Kempe – Lizotte – Wagner
Toffoli – Amadio – Luff

Ryan – Doughty
Hutton – Roy
MacDermid – Walker

Quick (starter)
Campbell (backup)