The Boston Bruins have won their first three games of the season and face a stiff test in Saturday night’s visit to face the Los Angeles Kings.
Boston began its four-game road trip with a 3-1 Thursday win at San Jose, but coach Jim Montgomery is still looking for more scoring chances and more energy from his lineup.
Even though all three of the Bruins’ goals were scored at even strength, their offensive effort against the Sharks was only better “in spurts, not consistently,” Montgomery said. “It’s a work in progress.”
Brad Marchand, James van Riemsdyk and David Pastrnak scored en route to the win in San Jose, with the first two goals coming in a 21-second span late in the first period.
As 19-year-old Matt Poitras continues to gain his first experience at the NHL level, fellow rookie John Beecher reached his own milestone in picking up his first NHL point on Marchand’s opening goal. He has also received considerable work on Boston’s 13-for-13 penalty kill.
“It’s huge. For myself, especially, that’s how I’m gonna make it in this league and survive in this league,” Beecher said. “I’m gonna take a lot of pride in the 200-foot game and being able to help our team in that aspect.”
Montgomery had tinkered with the lines during the week and liked what he saw from the trio of Charlie Coyle, van Riemsdyk — who has three goals in three games — and Trent Frederic.
“I thought Charlie was dominant and … his two linemates owned the middle of the front of the net,” Montgomery said. “I thought (van Riemsdyk’s) goal really was an exclamation mark of what I think that line can be.”
The Kings are back home after logging 5-1 and 7-3 wins during a two-game trip through Winnipeg and Minnesota, respectively. They are 2-1-1, tied for second in the Pacific Division with Calgary and behind only 5-0-0 Vegas.
“We’re starting to put our game together slowly,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “There’s still areas defensively that we can be better in.”
Saturday is expected to be a milestone night for Anze Kopitar, whose 1,296 games played with the Kings are tied with former captain and upcoming 2023 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Dustin Brown for the most in franchise history.
Kopitar has opened the season with points in all four games for Los Angeles.
Thursday at Minnesota, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice in a 12-second span in a four-goal first period, while California native Trevor Moore lit the lamp for a third straight game and now has four goals after scoring only 10 all of last season.
“I wanted to score more goals, I think everyone wants to score more goals,” Moore said earlier this week. “I worked on it and I changed a few things with my stick, stuff like that.”
Road teams have had the upper hand in the recent head-to-head series between the teams. The Bruins have won the last five meetings in L.A. dating back to 2017, while the Kings have won in overtime and a shootout in their last two games in Boston.