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Heading Out West, Boston Bruins Ready for Challenge

Ducks, Kings and Sharks Have Combined Six Home Regulation Losses on Season

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COMMENTARY | After the Bruins' 4-1 win on Saturday over the Winnipeg Jets, head coach Claude Julien didn't shy away from the fact of what lies ahead of the Bruins this week. The Bruins start a three-game California road trip Tuesday night in Anaheim. The trip concludes Saturday in San Jose with a matchup against the LA Kings on Thursday night.

"Well it's going to be a challenge, I've said it all along," Julien said. "The players know about it, might as well mention the fact that they have a combined six regulation losses between those three teams (at home) so it goes to show you how hard it is to go there and win some hockey games.

"It just goes to show you come out here to California it's not like it used to be a long time ago where you thought it would be fairly easy points they are all good teams, all elite teams"

But the Bruins have experienced success this season against two of those three teams albeit inside the TD Garden instead of instead enemy territory. Boston, second in the Eastern Conference standings, hung the first regulation loss on the Sharks back on October 24 with a 2-1 win. A week later the B's registered a shootout win over the Ducks.

Thursday's matchup against the Kings will be the first meeting of the season.

In both wins against the Sharks and Ducks the Bruins were able to find late-game magic. David Krejci lit the lamp with a tip-in goal in front of the net with just 0.8 left in regulation for the winner to beat San Jose. Against the Ducks, Captain Zdeno Chara scored at the 17:10 mark of the third to force overtime before Jarome Iginla won it with the only score in the shootout.

The Ducks enter Tuesday night's showdown with a league-leading 67 points. They boast a 17-0-2 mark inside the Honda Center. Anaheim enters 9-1-0 in its last 10 games, while the Bruins are 6-4-0 in the same stretch.

The Kings are slumping of late as they are just 4-6-10 over their last 10, but are 14-5-2 on home ice. The Kings and Bruins have both allowed a league low of 89 goals on the season.

San Jose has just one regulation home loss on the season (15-1-3) and have won seven of its last 10 heading into play on Tuesday. Both the Sharks (60) and Kings (56) trail the Ducks in the Western Conference's Pacific Division.

It's been no secret the Bruins have not had many complete three-period efforts on the season. Forward Reilly Smith noted it will take complete game efforts on the road trip for the team to be successful.

"It's going to be a test playing there because they have not lost too many games at home this year," Smith said. "But we know we have to come out with our best effort for every one of those games or it won't be close."

Julien mentioned the trip will be a good test for his club.

"It's a challenge that I and the rest of the team are really looking forward to," the bench boss said. "That's the kind of challenge we need right now."

SOURCE: Quotes gathered from the Boston Bruins media website.

Travis David is a freelance sports reporter and is also a credentialed member of the Boston Bruins media website. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.

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