While the Boston Bruins continue to lead their division despite recent struggles, the Los Angeles Kings have rocketed to the top of the Pacific standings thanks to their longest winning streak of the season.
The Kings hope to keep pace in the standings tonight with a seventh straight victory as they host the Bruins.
Los Angeles hasn't lost since March 9 and its six-game win streak has pushed its point total to 86 points. That matches the total of the Phoenix Coyotes, but the Kings have the current tiebreaker with a game in hand. In addition, the Stars are a point back and the Sharks only trail the Kings by two points for the division lead. Dallas hosts Calgary earlier on Saturday, while the Coyotes are visiting the Sharks.
Boston, meanwhile, has lost five of its past seven and now leads Ottawa by three points for the top spot in the Northeast Division. The Bruins do have a pair of games in hand and the Senators host the Penguins this evening after last night's regulation loss in Montreal.
The Kings extended their winning streak with a 1-0 shootout victory over the visiting Blues on Thursday. Jeff Carter had the winner in the fourth round of the tiebreaker and Jonathan Quick stopped all 35 shots he faced through overtime for his NHL high-tying eighth shutout of the season.
Quick matched Rogie Vachon's club record for most shutouts in a season, posting the 22nd of his career. Though his outstanding performance helped get the Kings into first place, Quick knows the Kings have to turn their full attention on this meeting.
"That means nothing if we don't win on Saturday," Quick said of the win. "We know what it's like out there. We know how tight it is. Everything we do, from tonight until Saturday, is all about Saturday's game, getting ready for that game. That's all we've got to do."
Los Angeles wraps a four-game homestand this evening looking to post its longest winning streak since winning nine in a row from Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2010. The Kings have also won six in a row at home.
The Bruins picked up their second straight win on Monday with an 8-0 rout of the Maple Leafs, but fell back into the loss column with a 2-1 setback in San Jose to open up a three-game road trip. It was Boston's fourth straight defeat on the road.
Tim Thomas made 25 saves and Zdeno Chara helped the Bruins avoid a shutout on a goal with 4:15 to play.
"They came out playing like they wanted it," said Thomas. "They had a bit of a losing streak coming in and wanted to win. We let them do that."
Chara's 11th goal of the season came in the 999th career game for the hulking defenseman. Tonight, Chara will become the 11th player to reach 1,000 games while playing for the Bruins. The former Norris Trophy winner has amassed 136 goals and 451 points over his career.
The Bruins had lost five straight -- four past regulation -- to the Kings before a 3-0 victory at home on Dec. 13. Tuukka Rask had 41 saves in the victory for Boston.
That was the first game for the Kings since firing head coach Terry Murray. John Stevens coached the game in the interim for Los Angeles, which has won two straight at home versus Boston, which eventually hired Darryl Sutter. The Kings have gone 22-11-8 since Sutter took over.