Kings hope to stay hot vs. Bruins
The Los Angeles Kings have spent much of the season residing in the Western Conference basement.
While they still have the fewest points in the West, the Kings have won three in a row and five of their last seven to sit just five points behind St. Louis for the second wild card.
Los Angeles looks to continue its ascent on Saturday afternoon when it visits the Boston Bruins in the fifth contest of a season-high six-game road trip.
"We're getting closer and closer," forward Adrian Kempe said following Thursday's 3-2 shootout win in Philadelphia. "We haven't played good enough so far in the season, but I think the last couple weeks we've been starting to figure it out. The structure is there, the team game is really good there the past couple games. We've got to take that with us. Take it one game at a time."
The Kings' game versus the red-hot Flyers nearly ended with a loss, as Kempe's attempt in the third round of the shootout initially was declared no good by the on-ice official before a video review showed the puck actually entered the net.
Kempe also scored in regulation by converting a 2-on-1 rush in the second period, giving him four goals and an assist during his three-game point streak.
"We're playing with confidence," said forward Austin Wagner, who also scored on Thursday. "We're doing a lot of things right, and we're focusing on the details. Coming out of the break, we knew we had to make a push for playoffs. We're still in a spot to make it, and we're trying to push for playoffs right now."
Tyler Toffoli converted in the sixth-round of the shootout to seal the win, marking for the first time in 11 career attempts that he made good in the extra session.
Toffoli has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his last eight games and capped a two-goal performance against the Bruins last season in improbable fashion, scoring directly off the faceoff with just 0.9 seconds left in overtime for a 2-1 win.
Brad Marchand tallied in that contest and had two of his club-best 42 assists in Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss against the New York Rangers. Boston, which is 2-1-3 in its last six games, is clinging to the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, although it sits just three points behind Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Marchand has scored three goals and set up 11 others during his last nine games while traditional linemate David Pastrnak has six of his team-leading 31 goals and 13 of his club-best 65 points in his last 10 contests.
Pastrnak, however, was shuffled on a line with Czech countrymen David Krejci and Peter Cehlarik during Wednesday's game while Marchand played with Danton Heinen alongside traditional partner Patrice Bergeron.
Coach Bruce Cassidy wasn't ready to reveal his hand in regard to line combinations for Saturday's game.
"I'm not going to say no, but we're going to look at it and see if that's the best way to go. I didn't mind them," Cassidy said. "I thought the balance was good. Not worried too much about Krech, Pasta, Bergy, March. Whoever they play with, it'll be a conversation about how they need to help them along.
"... At the end of the day, we could do it. And we'll look at L.A., too. We'll get final change so that sometimes factors in."
Tuukka Rask, who became Boston's all-time winningest goaltender after stopping 28 shots in Tuesday's 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders, is in line to draw the start on Saturday. The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner owns a 3-3-1 mark with two shutouts, a 2.18 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in seven career starts versus Los Angeles.
Rask likely will be opposed by Jonathan Quick, who boasts a 10-5-0 record with two shutouts, a 1.89 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 15 career outings versus Boston.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 8, 2019