Rapid Reaction: Bruins 4, Kings 2
March, 25, 2012
By James Murphy | ESPNBoston.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Boston Bruins got a huge 4-2 win as they held off a late Kings rally and got their first win on this three-game swing through California that concludes Sunday in Anaheim. Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand lit the lamp for the Bruins, but Tim Thomas stole the show with a 41-save performance to preserve a three-point lead over the Senators in the Eastern Conference and Northeast Division standings.
Congratulations to Zdeno Chara on playing his 1,000th game: The Bruins captain marked his 1,000th NHL game Saturday by playing a typical Chara game, shutting down the Kings with his size, reach and intelligence. Chara logged 23:16 of ice time and was a plus-1. Chara was instrumental in helping the Bruins kill four Kings power plays and blocked a potentially game-tying bid in the final seconds.
Thomas not showing any signs of fatigue: Tim Thomas played his 15th straight game Saturday and is showing no signs of fatigue. He made 41 saves, including a game-saver on Jeff Carter in the final seconds to preserve his 32nd win of the season. As he usually does when he is on his game, Thomas gave the Bruins a chance to win and made some crucial saves when they needed him most. Prior to the game, Thomas told ESPNBoston.com he is feeling good and seemed to be in good spirits. That’s showing on the ice right now and that’s a good sign for the Bruins.
Marchand playing with more purpose: Brad Marchand scored his 25th goal of the season with an empty-netter with 1 second left to seal the win for Boston. But the second-year player’s trademark hustle was really on display when he assisted on Patrice Bergeron’s short-hander at 5:18 of the second period. In his last four games Marchand has two goals and two assists and it’s no coincidence he’s playing with more purpose and determination. If he can continue to do that, the Bruins will get a huge offensive boost -- as they did in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs when, as a rookie, Marchand had 19 points in 25 games.
Pouliot-Kelly-Rolston line continues to shine: When Rich Peverley (knee) eventually returns to the Bruins lineup, coach Claude Julien is going to have a hard time breaking up the trio of Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kelly and Brian Rolston. Against the Kings, this line did more than just play smart two-way hockey; they once again produced, with Kelly scoring at 5:56 of the third period. Pouliot and Rolston had the helpers. Kelly has three goals and three assists in his last four games, Rolston has two goals and seven assists in his last five games and Pouliot has two goals and four assists in his last five games.
With legs moving, Lucic unstoppable: Milan Lucic always says that if his legs are moving, good things happen. That was the case on Saturday as the big winger was skating hard and playing his trademark north-south game that always seems to lead to goals. Lucic scored his 24th goal of the season at 4:37 of the final frame to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead at the time. Lucic barreled down the wing, took a feed from David Krejci and beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick five-hole.
Bergeron becomes Bruins’ fifth 20-goal scorer: With his 20th goal of the season, Bergeron became the fifth Bruin to reach the 20-goal plateau this season. Chris Kelly, with 19 goals, is the closest to becoming the sixth 20-goal scorer.
Corvo a healthy scratch for fourth straight game: Bruins defenseman Joe Corvo was a healthy scratch once again, as more and more it appears he may have played his last game as a Bruin, barring an injury to another defenseman. Corvo becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 and has been a major disappointment with just 25 points in 70 games, and Julien’s patience has apparently worn thin. Defenseman Mike Mottau and forward Trent Whitfield were the other healthy scratches. Here’s what the lineup looked like Saturday night:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jordan Caron
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Greg Zanon-Andrew McQuaid
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk