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Bruins 4, Kings 2

Bruins hold Kings for ransom

Three-goal third brings about win

By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / March 25, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - Only two days after posting a season-low 17 shots in a loss in San Jose, the Bruins got back some of their shooting and scoring touch here Saturday night, connecting for a pair of third-period goals to pin a 4-2 loss on the Kings at Staples Center.

Their 38th win this season was the third for the Bruins in their last four games, and it provided a little extra security in the standings as they continue their quest to nail down the No. 2 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have eight games left in the regular season, including one Sunday night in Anaheim. The playoffs are set to begin in a little more than two weeks.

The night also marked the 1,000th game for captain Zdeno Chara, whose alert play with 1:15 remaining in regulation maintained a 3-2 lead and helped preserve the win. With the Kings scrambling feverishly for the tying goal, and the right side of the net wide open, Chara dropped in the crease and prevented a doorstep attempt from bleeding over the goal line.

“Some nights you need some help,’’ said Bruins netminder Tim Thomas, who turned back 40 shots in one of his best performance in recent weeks. “And tonight I got some help from a 6-foot-9 monster.’’

Brad Marchand, who assisted on Boston’s first goal, a shorthander by Patrice Bergeron for a 1-0 lead in the second period, knocked home the night’s final goal, pushing the puck over the line with a fraction of a second left for the final score.

“That’s a big club,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien, crediting the Kings’ effort. “They played hard and we really had to respond. That was a great finish and our goalie stood tall for us.’’

After playing to a 1-1 deadlock through two periods, the Bruins broke it open with quick strikes by Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly to put it away in the opening six minutes of the third.

Lucic struck first, wristing in a softy at 4:37 from the right circle. Ex-UMass goalie Jonathan Quick should have had it, but allowed the shot to squeeze through his five-hole as he dropped to his knees. He usually gobbles up those shots with ease.

“I guess you could say I was a little surprised to see it go in,’’ said Lucic. “But we had a few good shots at him where we didn’t do enough with rebounds. That’s kind of all I was looking to do there, get a shot and see if we could do something.’’

Only 1:19 later, the Bruins led, 3-1, when Kelly connected off a short feed from Benoit Pouliot. The puck angled into the net off of Kelly’s left skate, causing the goal to be reviewed on videotape. But after a short look-see, the goal stood, much to the chagrin of many in the sold-out crowd of 18,310.

“Sometimes the hockey gods are smiling on you,’’ said Kelly.

The Kings closed to within a goal, 3-2, with 5:14 left in regulation when Slava Voynov slapped in a long-range wrister after Bergeron and Anze Kopitar battled in a faceoff.

Again, similar to their 2-1 loss Thursday in San Jose, the Bruins had trouble generating offense in the first period. Most of their shots were by defensemen, usually from long range, which is no way to beat Quick.

Boston’s best flurry in the first came late in the period after Justin Williams was sent off for roughing at 17:32. The Bruins landed five shots on Quick during the two minutes. Rolston and Jordan Caron combined for the best 1-2 chance with about a minute left, but Quick turned back both, first Rolston’s from long range and then Caron’s rebound attempt from about 15 feet.

The first period ended scoreless, but the power play did give the Bruins some much-needed confidence.

Finally, with 5:18 gone in the second, the Bruins broke to their first lead on the trip with Bergeron connecting, a shorthanded putaway off a rebound left by Marchand, his regular penalty-killing pal. Marchand took the puck from Drew Doughty along the Kings’ right wing wall and broke in on Quick. Tied up from behind by Doughty, Marchand landed a backhander on Quick, who roamed far from his right post to make the stop. A trailing Bergeron, with a step on Mike Richards, swooped and made the easy pot for the 1-0 lead.

Bergeron, who hadn’t scored since Feb. 25, had his 20th of the season.

The Kings came back to tie 7:59 later, only seconds after Marchand missed a prime opportunity to make it 2-0 at the other end, misfiring wide and high on a clean break in from the left side. Quick on transition, the Kings raced down the other end and it was Colin Fraser who drilled in the equalizer, set up by a crisp cross-slot pass from Doughty on the right wing.

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