Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly scored less than 1 1/2 minutes apart early in the third period to break open a tie game, Patrice Bergeron scored a short-handed goal and Tim Thomas made 40 saves, leading the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
The defending Stanley Cup champions ended a four-game road losing streak and also snapped a six-game winning streak to the Kings, who fell out of first place in the Pacific Division with Dallas' victory over Calgary. Colin Fraser and rookie Slava Voynov scored for Los Angeles and Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots.
The Northeast Division-leading Bruins are second in the Eastern Conference, 12 points behind the New York Rangers with eight games left on the schedule. The last defending Stanley Cup champion to lead its conference in points the following season was New Jersey, which captured the top seed in the East in 2000-01.
The Bruins, who have a 36-goal advantage over their opponents in the third period, broke a 1-all tie when David Krejci carried the puck into the Kings' zone and left a drop pass for Lucic, who beat Quick between the pads with a wrist shot from the middle of the right circle at 4:37 of the period for his 24th goal.
Kelly added his 19th of the season at the 5:56 mark. Brian Rolston carried the puck from his own zone into the Kings' end and passed to Benoit Pouliot, whose cross-ice feed to Kelly went in off his left skate. The officials let the goal stand after a brief replay viewing.
Voynov cut it to 3-2 at 14:46 of the third with his seventh goal, a line wrist shot that beat Thomas high to the glove side. But Brad Marchand scored into an empty net in the final second.
The Kings had allowed only one short-handed goal all season until Bergeron opened the scoring at 5:18 of the second period, while Rolston was off for holding Dustin Brown. Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty turned the puck over to Marchand and Quick made a toe save on Marchand's 15-foot backhander, but was out of position when Bergeron slammed the rebound into a wide-open net for his 20th goal.
Los Angeles had 15 shots on net in the first period, but didn't get another one until the 11:26 mark of the second, when Thomas turned aside Brown's 35-foot slap shot. But Fraser tied it less than 2 minutes later with his second goal of the season, getting a cross-ice pass from Doughty in the slot and beating Thomas to the stick side with a 25-foot wrist shot.
Notes: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara played in his 1,000th regular-season game, becoming the 19th defenseman to reach that total. ... The Kings are 52-116-5 with 23 ties against teams who were defending a Stanley Cup title — including a 3-0 loss at Boston on Dec. 13, when Tuukka Rask made 41 saves against Los Angeles in the Kings' first game after the firing of coach Terry Murray. ... One more goal by Kelly would give the Bruins six players with 20 or more goals in the same season for the first time since 1995-96. ... Boston is 34-0-0 when holding a two-goal lead at any point of the game. ... The Bruins came in with the league's top four players on the plus-minus list — Bergeron (31), Kelly (28), Tyler Seguin (28) and Chara, who was in a four-way tie for fourth at plus-25. ... The Bruins haven't shut out the Kings in Los Angeles since Jan. 3, 1976, when Dave Reece beat them 3-0 for the second and last shutout of his 14-game NHL career. ... Boston's only power play came after Justin Williams was sent off for roughing at 17:32 of the first period. The Bruins have had fewer than three power-play opportunities in nine of their last 10 games. ... Williams played in his 700th regular-season game.