Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy

Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy

LOS ANGELES -- The Boston Bruins figured their road swing against the NHL's three tough California teams would be a strong indication of their ability to contend for a playoff spot.

Interim coach Bruce Cassidy thinks the Bruins are leaving the Golden State in great shape.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored their 26th goals of the season, and the Bruins improved to 5-1-0 under Cassidy with a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Anton Khudobin made 27 saves in his second start since Christmas for the Bruins, who nursed an early lead to their first win in Los Angeles since March 24, 2012. The Bruins won two of three in California, with a competitive loss to Anaheim sandwiched between wins over the Sharks and Kings.

"It's not easy to do in this league, playing big, heavy teams like this back-to-back," said Cassidy, who played under Kings coach Darryl Sutter with the IHL's Saginaw Hawks and Indianapolis Ice from 1988-90. "We did what we had to do. These are three tough buildings to win in, and I know the Bruins have had their struggles out here."

Pastrnak punctuated a strong all-around game with his seventh power-play goal of the season early in the second period. Dominic Moore ended his 26-game goal drought with an empty-net score, and David Krejci added another empty-netter with 7.2 seconds left.

"This trip is a really good indicator of how we match up against certain types of teams," Marchand said. "They play a really difficult style of game ... and we responded to it really well."

Boston's unbeaten start under Cassidy ended one night earlier in Anaheim, but the Bruins responded with another strong defensive game in front of their backup goalie. Khudobin was solid in just his ninth start of the season for the Bruins, who have relied heavily on All-Star Tuukka Rask in net.

"I got tired in the second, and (the Bruins) picked it up for me," Khudobin said. "And then (Los Angeles) didn't have many shots in the third period. Perfect game for me."

Kevin Gravel scored his first NHL goal and Peter Budaj stopped 21 shots for the Kings, who have lost six of eight. Los Angeles' playoff hopes have taken a hit during the rough stretch including just five goals in its last four games.

"Can't chase the lead," Sutter said. "(Giving up an) early goal is just a constant theme. Chase the lead. Put some production on the top end of your lineup to overcome that."

The Kings have a home-heavy schedule down the stretch, but they've lost seven of 11 at Staples Center.

After Marchand put the Bruins ahead early on a 2-on-1 rush, Gravel scored on a rebound of rookie Adrian Kempe's shot. Gravel's goal was the defenseman's first of his 45-game career with the Kings, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2010.

"It was a long time coming on that one," Gravel said. "I had nothing but net to shoot at, so I just basically tapped her in. Obviously, I want that one to come in a win, but the first goal is a special moment, for sure."

Pastrnak reclaimed the lead for Boston early in the second. He broke his stick on the one-timer, but the changeup effect on the puck fooled Budaj just enough. The 20-year-old Czech forward tied Patrice Bergeron for the team lead in power-play goals.

Los Angeles managed just one shot in the first 15 minutes of the third period, and Moore sealed it with 1:02 to play on his first goal since Dec. 20.

NOTES: Boston F Riley Nash was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He scored 10 points while playing in all 60 games for the Bruins this season, but had just one assist in the last eight games . . . Sutter coached his 1,263rd game, passing Jacques Lemaire for sole possession of 13th place in NHL history . . . Jeff Zatkoff was the Kings' backup goalie. Los Angeles placed Zatkoff on waivers earlier in the week, but didn't send him to the AHL after he cleared.


Bruins: At Stars on Sunday.

Kings: Host Ducks on Saturday.

Bruins sign prospect Ryan Donato to entry-level contract

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Bruins sign prospect Ryan Donato to entry-level contract

The Bruins announced Sunday they have signed Harvard forward Ryan Donato to a two-year entry-level contract.

Donato will be eligible to play in tomorrow's game vs the Blue Jackets.

The 21-year-old led Harvard in scoring in 2017-18, recording 26 goals and 17 assists for 43 points in 29 games. Donato also represented Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he tied for the most goals in the Olympics with five in as many games.


Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.