The Boston Bruins road trip continues tonight when Matt Beleskey returns back to Anaheim for the first team since leaving his former team as a free agent. He spent the first seven years of his career in that organization, and after a breakout year cashed in with the Bruins.
For the Bruins, they need to cash in on points tonight and tomorrow. The last time they played Anaheim was in January at home, and they lost 6-2. That evening Jonas Gustavsson got the start, allowed 2 goals in the first period, and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital when he became ill in the first intermission. Tuukka Rask came on and let in four goals on 22 shots. Beleskey assisted on both Bruins goals and earned the third star of the game.
The Bruins may catch a break tonight at the expense of Duck’s goalie John Gibson. The All-Star left practice early yesterday because of an illness. He and Frederik Andersen have alternated two starts each in the past 15 games, which means Gibson would be in line to start tonight. Anderson got the win in Boston earlier this year, and would go tonight if necessary. Anaheim has given up two or fewer goals 11 times in the last 13 games since going to the two-goalie rotation.
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Things don’t get any easier tomorrow night when the Bruins take on the Los Angeles Kings, a team that decimated the Bruins at home last month by a score of 9-2. Milan Lucic returned to Boston for the first time in an opponents sweater and was one of nine Kings to score a goal that night, Lucic also added a pair of assists. The Kings put 57 shots on goal that night, and you have to go back exactly 51 years ago when the Bruins allowed 57 shots against on March 18, 1965 against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Kings will go into tomorrow night on a three game winning streak, and winners of 7 out of their last 10. Last night they beat the New York Rangers, 3-2, in overtime. The Kings are now 11-3 in overtime, and lead the league in that category. They lead the Western Conference with a +35 in goal differential.
The Bruins have the best road record in the league, at 23-8-3 (which the Washington Capitals also have.) The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers are the two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference right now, and the Flyers are only six points behind the Bruins, and have two games in hand. It is crucial that the Bruins return east with points on this trip.