The Boston Bruins will try to close their West Coast trip with consecutive victories when they visit the Anaheim Ducks for tonight's battle at the Honda Center.
Boston is 3-1 on the heels of a four-game slide and split the first two tests of a three-game swing. The Bruins dropped a 2-1 regulation decision in San Jose on Thursday before rebounding with Saturday's 4-2 victory in Los Angeles.
The Bruins enter today's action with a three-point lead over Ottawa for first place in the Northeast Division. The Senators are idle after posting a win Saturday against Pittsburgh and Boston will use one of its two games in hand over Ottawa tonight.
Chris Kelly netted the game-winning goal in the third period to help the Bruins beat the Kings at the Staples Center on Saturday. Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist, while Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic also scored and Tim Thomas made 41 saves in the victory.
"It was important for us to get a gritty road victory," Thomas said. "We still have some work to do before the playoffs. We need balanced scoring to be successful."
After tonight's tilt, Boston, which is 21-15-1 as the road team, will return home to face Tampa Bay and Washington in a two-game residency at TD Garden.
Sitting 11 points out of a playoff spot with just seven games left on their schedule, the Ducks have relished in the spoiler role lately, posting wins in two straight and three of their last five contests.
After his teams most recent win, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau talked about how his club plans on continuing giving maximum effort through the end of the season.
"We tell ourselves we can compete with anybody," Boudreau said. "We're not eliminated yet, so we're going to play hard the last seven games."
Anaheim last played on Wednesday when it notched a 4-3 regulation win over the visiting St. Louis Blues, who are tied for the NHL lead with 101 points. Jason Blake scored the eventual game-winning goal late in the third period for the Ducks, who came back from three one-goal deficits to post the victory.
Cam Fowler, Nick Bonino, and Devante Smith-Pelly all lit the lamp and Ryan Getzlaf added a pair of assists for the Ducks. Jonas Hiller made 35 saves in the victory.
The Ducks are playing the middle portion of a three-game homestand tonight and are 20-16-2 as the host this year compared to a 12-16-9 road mark.
Anaheim posted a 3-0 win in Boston the last time these clubs met on Dec. 20, 2010. The Ducks have taken three straight and four of five in the series overall and the Bruins have lost two straight in Orange County.