Following a solid 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks Thursday night, the Bruins look to further build some momentum as they host the “Best in the West” Los Angels Kings Saturday night. With Anton Khudobin getting the nod over Tuukka Rask against San Jose, the Bruins edged out the Sharks in a defensive battle. Rask, who has missed some time with a concussion, will most likely return to the net to face the Kings.
More impressive than the defensive efforts of Boston Thursday night was the offensive performance from youngster Danton Heinen. After being called up to the big stage earlier that morning, Heinen was the hero, notching both goals for the B’s. With some lackluster penalties at the hands of Sean Kuraly, Heinen’s big-time play was essential for a struggling Bruins squad. If the young gun can build off his impressive outing, Boston can certainly give Los Angeles some trouble at the Garden Saturday night.
Although relatively absent on Thursday, Brad Marchand provides another aspect of optimism for Boston fans moving forward. In just eight games the long-time Bruin has tallied eleven points, leading the team in both goals and assists. Aside from last night’s battle and a shutout loss to Colorado in early October, Marchand has assisted or scored in every game. I expect to see further progression from Marchy throughout the next few weeks as he has established himself as a strong leader for the B’s. With some production from the younger guys, Boston has the weapons to emerge as an offensive powerhouse.
FUELING THE FLAME
After big wins, the next big step is adding more fuel to the fire. Boston has failed to win back-to-back games this year, deflating hope for both the fans and players. Although facing Los Angeles is rarely fun, the reward of beating them would be immense. If Boston can squeak past L.A. they will have finally broken their back-to-back win draught, and have done so against the best in the west. In order to accomplish this feat, a few things need to happen… or would certainly help.
Rask needs to rebound- After missing a few games, Rask needs to come back with a powerful showing. He faces an extremely tough offense, but has the opportunity to display his talent in front of home fans.
No silly goals- When playing a first-place team, almost everything has to go right. The Bruins cannot afford to give up weak goals to the Kings. They have had trouble with silly goals, but Saturday night this is especially inexcusable.
Find twine early- Nothing would be worse than starting off slow and digging a hole against the Kings at home. If the Bruins can get on the board quick, they will draw the momentum necessary to take down a really strong squad.
Avoid the box- For Bruins viewers, this seems like a no-brainer. But time and time again Boston ends up in the box when they shouldn’t. Los Angeles will capitalize on PowerPlays, so best avoid them.