Wednesday the Los Angeles Kings (15-12-5) had a "cleanse" day according to Todd McLellan. And the team will need that to have a tangible impact, as they take on the Boston Bruins (23-4-1) Thursday afternoon.
Puck drops at 4:00 PM.
If the Kings play as they did against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, or like their third period against the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, the Kings will be staring down another massive defeat.
The Bruins are rolling right now. Leading the league with 47 points and a +49 goal differential, which is 16 better than the next closest team. They're the best team in the NHL right now and the Kings are playing them at the worst time.
One of the Kings' focuses at practice Wednesday was the penalty kill. Their penalty kill has fallen to 28th in the NHL and has been a problem all season. Coming up against the league's third-best power play, they'll need Wednesday's work to pay off big time.
The best way to stop a potent power play is to not take penalties though. Something the Kings have struggled with, giving up the sixth most power-play opportunities against.
Their power play, which had caught fire, has fallen off lately as well. After registering a power-play goal in eight straight games, the team has failed to score one in their last four. Getting their special teams going again would be huge for them against the Bruins.
The biggest question mark is in net. Jonathan Quick is expected to start and they need a bounce-back performance from him. His .769 save percentage and -3.52 goals saved above expected performance against the Blue Jackets can't be repeated Thursday. Of course, some of that falls on the team in front of him, who have to give some support to their netminder. The barrage of odd-man rushes and penalties needs to stop.
Expected LA Kings Lines:
Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Arthur Kaliyev
Trevor Moore-Phil Danault-Jaret Anderson-Dolan
Alex Iafallo-Adrian Kempe-Gabe Vilardi
Carl Grundstrom-Blake Lizotte-Samuel Fagemo
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Tobias Bjornfot/Alex Edler-Sean Walker
Expected Boston Bruins Lines:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jake DeBrusk
Pavel Zacha-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall-Charlie Coyle-Trent Frederic
Nick Foligno-Tomas Nosek-A.J. Greer
Derek Forbort-Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk-Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril-Connor Clifton
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 26-111, 23.42%, 13th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Penalty Kill: 32-108, 70.37%, 28th in NHL
Boston Bruins Power Play: 30-105, 28.57%, 3rd in NHL
Boston Bruins Penalty Kill: 15-106, 85.85%, 1st in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Notes:
- The LA Kings have earned points in five of their last six trips to Boston (4-1-1).
- Anze Kopitar has 2,992 career shots on goal. Only three LA Kings skaters have eclipsed 3,000 shots in their career with the Kings: Marcel Dionne (3,848), Dustin Brown (3,360) and Luc Robitaille (3,091).
- No team has put up more third-period shots than the Kings’ 348.
- Drew Doughty (3-9=12) has the most points against Boston among any defenseman in franchise history.
- With one more three-point game, Kevin Fiala can become the first Kings skater since the 2017-18 season to have at least five three-point games in a season (Anze Kopitar, 7 GP).
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio