LOS ANGELES — Greeetings from SoCal, specificallly the Staples Center, where Saturday night the Bruins face the Kings in their second of three West Coast stops.
The Bruins opened the end-of-season swing in San Jose Thursday with a listless 2-1 loss to the Sharks, posting a season-low 17 shots on net. They will be in Anaheim Sunday night to face the Ducks before returning to Causeway Street to face the Bolts Tuesday night.
The Bruins began the day with a light warmup skate at the Kings’ practice facility, the Toyota Center, in El Segundo. It’s possible that Rich Peverley, sidelined the last five weeks with a wrenched knee, will be back in the lineup to face the Kings, but coach Claude Julien has said little the last few days about how soon he’ll get the veteran right winger into the action. Once he’s back, Peverley likely will skate on the No. 1 line with Milan Lucic (LW) and David Krejci.
Update: following the optional workout at El Segundo, Julien said Peverley would not play against the Kings, but he will participate in the pre-game warmup. It’s possible, said Julien, that Peverley will play against the Ducks on Sunday.
Upon Peverley’s return, Julien will have to decide whether to scratch Jordan Caron, Benoit Pouliot or returnee Brian Rolston. Of those three, Rolston has been the hottest of late, contributing a line of 2-6–8 over the most recent four games. No one else in the lineup has contributed anywhere near a rate of two points per game, so Rolston likely remains on the job.
Tim Thomas is expected in the Boston net, likely opposed by fellow ex-US Olympic backup tender Jonthan Quick, the former UMass-Amherst goalie. This is Quick’s fourth season as the Kings’ No. 1 goalie and he has been sensational (32-19-11, with a 1.96 GAA and .930 save percentage). The latter two categories were the kind of numbers that helped Thomas earn Vezina honors two of the last three seasons. Sharper of late, Thomas this year is 31-19-0 with a 2.41 and .919. Solid numbers, but not Vezina-worthy.
This will be career game No. 1,000 for Boston captain Zdeno Chara. Big Z began his career with the Islanders, then moved on to Ottawa, playing a total of 530 games prior to signing as a free agent with Boston in July 2006.
Puck drop: 9:05 p.m. EST
Record: Bruins, 42-28-3; Kings, 37-25-12
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
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
Scratches: Rich Peverley, Trent Whitfield, Mike Mottau and Joe Corvo
Storylines: The Bruins awoke to find the Panthers within a point of tying them for second place in the conference with 87 points. Florida lost to the Oilers, 2-1, in a shootout Friday night and remained in third with 86 points….The Habs gave the Bruins a little help on Friday night when they rubbed out the Senators, 5-1, with ex-Bruin Petteri Nokelainen potting a goal for Club CH. The Sens loss left the Bruins with a three-point lead over Ottawa in the Northeast, and with two games in hand….Meanwhile, the much-improved Sabres (6-2-2 in their last 10), are only two points behind the slumping Sens (3-5-2 in their last 10), and the Sabres could move up and edge the Sens out of one of the last playoff seeds in the East. If so, the Bruins, if they maintain the No. 2 seed in the East, could face the Sabres again in the first round for a second time in three post-seasons…The game Sunday in Anaheim begins at 5 p.m. out here, which means the Bruins are not likely to skate tomorrow morning, especially after working the night before in L.A.