The streak continued for the bumbling Bruins (23-21-8) Friday night, losing their sixth straight game at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1. The effort was promising, but getting pucks past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller is a tall task for any team. The loss extended Boston’s longest losing streak of the season, leaving them in a tie for 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
This evening, they get a chance to climb those standings when they begin a four-game homestand at TD Garden, hosting the Los Angeles Kings (31-19-3). L.A. has won four straight, including the first three games on their current five-game east coast road trip. This helped them to vault up the standings in the West, as they are currently sitting at sixth in the conference. Just two Saturdays ago, the Bruins fell to the Kings in their only other meeting of the season, 4-3 in a shootout.
Let’s now take a closer look at tonight’s matchup… the first of two “Boston vs. Los Angeles” battles at the Garden this weekend. (Celtics host the Lakers Sunday afternoon.)
Boston got their playmaking center Marc Savard back in the lineup last night. Savard assisted on Boston’s only goal, scored by Milan Lucic. Tonight, they hope to get back two more forwards, as Steve Begin (undisclosed) and Marco Sturm (leg) may return to action against Los Angeles. Both men practiced with the team this week and are close to returning. Defenseman Andrew Ference (groin) is also out, and unlikely to return before the Olympic break.
For Los Angeles, the team may be without defenseman Jack Johnson for tonight’s game. Johnson left the game in the second period Thursday in Columbus after being struck in the arm. He did practice with the team yesterday, and is a question mark heading into tonight’s action. Also questionable is defenseman Davis Drewiskie (shoulder). Still on injured reserve: forwards Justin Williams (ankle) and Andrei Lokitonov (shoulder).
The Kings are led on the score sheet by center Anze Kopitar (22G, 31A), followed by defenseman Drew Doughty (10G, 31A) and winger Dustin Brown (12G, 25A).
In goal, tonight’s matchup will likely feature two goaltenders who will represent the U.S. in the upcoming Olympic games. With Tuukka Rask in net for last night’s loss in Buffalo, it’s likely we’ll see Tim Thomas in the Bruins’ crease this evening, while Los Angeles will likely counter with former UMass Amherst standout Jonathan Quick (29-16-3, 2.56GAA). Quick is backed up by Erik Ersberg (2-3-0, 3.21GAA).
Like Buffalo, Los Angeles is one of three teams that hasn’t blown a lead after the second period. New Jersey is the other team able to boast that stat.
Boston hasn’t won at home since the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, and haven’t earned a victory at TD Garden in exactly a month, last winning on December 30th over Atlanta.