Bruins-Kings Preview

The Associated Press

Sitting in a first-place tie in the Pacific Division, the Los Angeles Kings seem to have hit their stride at just the right time.

The Boston Bruins could ultimately have difficultly maintaining their Northeast Division lead given their recent efforts on the road.

On the verge of their longest winning streak in more than two years, the Kings look to keep things going Saturday night against a Bruins team hoping to avoid losing five straight away from home.

Los Angeles (37-25-12), which has outscored opponents 20-10 during its six-game run, is tied with Phoenix atop the division but has a game in hand. The Kings continued their recent surge and jumped from eighth place to third in the Western Conference with Thursday's 1-0 shootout win over St. Louis.

"At the end of the day we got two points here, we need to get that every time we come out and that's our goal. We got that tonight so we'll enjoy it for another couple minutes and then move on to Saturday against Boston," said Jonathan Quick, who made 35 saves to tie the team record with his eighth shutout.

"That means nothing if we don't win on Saturday. We know what it's like out there, and we know how tight it is."

Los Angeles hasn't won seven in a row since a nine-game run Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2010.

The Bruins (42-28-3) find themselves in the midst of a 2-5-0 funk and hold a slim lead over second-place Ottawa in the Northeast. After snapping a four-game skid with back-to-back home victories, Boston suffered its fourth consecutive road loss Thursday, 2-1 to San Jose.

The Bruins, who cruised to an 8-0 victory over Toronto on Monday, failed to get on the board until defenseman Zdeno Chara scored with 4:15 left in the third period.

Boston has been outscored 19-6 during its road skid and hasn't been handed five straight defeats in opposing arenas since Feb. 21-March 15, 2009.

"We're having a hard time picking up momentum and keeping it for a long time," said Tim Thomas, who made 25 saves. "The good news is recently, we proved what type of team we can be, so we have to pick that up again Saturday. If you could've asked me before (Thursday's) game, I thought we would've carried it over.

"I mentioned this after (the Toronto) game, I felt that we turned a corner and hopefully we still have."

Los Angeles had taken five straight in this series before falling 3-0 at Boston on Dec. 13. Thomas, who was spelled by Tuukka Rask in that game, is 0-1-4 with a 2.46 goals-against average in five starts versus the Kings.

Thomas hasn't been very sharp of late, going 2-4-0 with a 3.34 GAA over his last seven contests.

Quick has posted a 1.55 GAA while starting five of the last six games. He was 5-0-0 versus Boston before turning away 19 shots Dec. 13. Quick stopped 34 shots in a 2-0 win over the Bruins during their last visit to Staples Center on Jan. 24, 2011.

Though he didn't register a point against the Blues, Kings forward Anze Kopitar has seven goals and seven assists over his last 12 games. He leads the team with 65 points and has six in seven meetings with the Bruins.

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