You almost can’t count the December game between the Bruins and the Kings, as it was played just hours after GM Dean Lombardi announced that coach Terry Murray had been relieved of his coaching duties. Although LA went out and fired 41 shots at goalie Tuukka Rask, they lost 3-0 in Boston. Prior to that game though, the two clubs had squared off for a pair of shutouts, three shootouts and a game decided by overtime. So, it’s usually a interesting night when they get together.
Kings left wing Dustin Penner has only played the Bruins four times in his career. But, he’s all too familiar with the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
“It should be another real good test for us,” said Penner. “I’m sure it will be a similar game to St. Louis. They had a tough start and I think (GM Peter) Chiarelli was going to blow up the team – he made it sound that way, at least in the paper. Then, they got pretty hot for a while. Now, they’ve cooled off a bit. But, we’re not concerned about their game as much as our own, and keeping what we have going right now.”
After rallying back for a tough win Thursday vs. the Blues, Penner liked how the Kings have changed their approach to adversity.
“We had been in that position before, where we had a really bad first period. I think earlier this year we had a few periods like that and we just couldn’t recover. I think (Thursday) was a big step forward. When we had periods like that before, it could have gone one of two ways – we could have went further down and buried ourselves or fight back. For the next two periods (vs. the Blues), I think we took it to them.”
While there was plenty of credit to go around for the way the Kings battled back in the second half of that game – much of the praise was directed at the play of his line in the second period.
“Stolly was winning draws and we were getting pucks in deep with our speed,” said Penner, when asked why they were so effective in the middle stanza. “By having our first two forwards on the puck we were keeping a lot of the pucks down in their end and making them play there.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Penner interview without at least one funny moment. When it was noted that he’s looked faster out on the ice the last 10 days or so and if there was any explanation for that, he quipped – “It’s all the suplements I’m taking.”
Knowing he’s a big wrestling fan (read this article if you are too), that was perhaps a subtle nod to one of his heroes, Hulk Hogan.
To round out this article, we asked Penner and a few other Kings who they’re taking in tonight’s First Goal Contest…
Penner – “Brownie”
Slava Voynov – “Mike Richards”
Alec Martinez – “Justin Williams” (Voynov was lobbying for Martinez to take himself, he wouldn’t do it)
Colin Fraser – “Slava Voynov from the point, a nice power play goal.” (Great thing about Fraser is he always describes the goal too)
Dwight King – “Justin Williams”
Kevin Westgarth – “Dewey (Doughty). He’s going to get get back on the board here.”
If you’d like to enter, simply leave a comment below with the LA player you think will score first vs. the Bruins. All correct answers will be pooled together and one random winner will be awarded a free pair of tickets to an upcoming Kings home game.
To help you with your selection, the following stats may come in handy…
– Dustin Brown has 4 goals in 9 career games vs Boston
– Anze Kopitar has 4 goals in 7 games
– Williams has 6 goals in 24 games
– Richards has 7 goals in 21 games
– Jeff Carter has 6 goals in 26 games
– Stoll has 3 goals in 8 games
– Drew Doughty has 1 goal in 6 games
Of course, feel free to take Willie Mitchell, Trevor Lewis, Slava Voynov or any of the other Kings players. Just stay clear of Westgarth, Brad Richardson and Davis Drewiske because they’re expected to once again be healthy scratches from tonight’s game.