Kings vs. Bruins Preview
That could develop into a problem coach Claude Julien won't mind having.
Julien has a difficult decision to make on his starting goalie Saturday night when the Bruins seek a season high-tying fourth straight win against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BroburySports.com have made the Bruins –145 money line favorites for Saturday's game against the Kings. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 73% of more than 57 bets for this game have been placed on the Bruins -145.
Rask was the better of the two goalies last season, playing all 13 playoff games after Thomas won the Vezina Trophy the previous year. Thomas has regained that standout form this season and ranks among the league leaders in wins (10) and goals-against average (1.37) while leading the NHL with four shutouts in 12 games.
Although Thomas was excellent in wins over New Jersey and the New York Rangers, Julien started Rask Thursday against Florida with the Bruins (11-5-1) playing their third game in four nights. Rask responded with 41 saves in a 4-0 victory, his first of the season.
Rask has a stellar 2.24 GAA despite a 1-4-1 record. He has allowed four goals in his last three starts.
"Not the first win I've won with the Bruins, but it feels good,'' Rask said.
Thomas has stopped 93 of 97 shots in three games since allowing a season-high four goals in a 7-4 victory at Pittsburgh on Nov. 10. He is 0-0-3 with a 2.36 GAA in four appearances against the Kings, while Rask has never faced them.
Rask's goaltending and Milan Lucic's natural hat trick Thursday powered Boston to its third straight win overall and second in a row at home following a three-game skid at TD Garden.
"We wanted to go out there and give him a good effort and give him a win,'' Lucic said. ``He's such a great goalie and we're happy that we were able to get the win for him.''
Also playing a key role Thursday was the Bruins' strong penalty-killing unit. Boston held Florida scoreless on five power-play opportunities and has surrendered one goal in its last 15 short-handed situations.
The Kings (12-6-0) opened their four-game trip with a 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Friday night, their third straight defeat following a six-game winning streak. Wayne Simmonds and Dustin Brown scored for Los Angeles, which dropped to 4-5-0 on the road compared to 8-1-0 at home.
"I don't think we're playing every phase of our game right now,'' said backup goalie Jonathan Bernier. ``We just have to go back to the basics.''
After Bernier started Friday, Jonathan Quick figures to be back in net against the Bruins.
Quick is one of the few netminders playing as well as Thomas, boasting a 10-2-0 record and a 1.73 GAA for the best start by a goalie in franchise history. He is 3-0-0 with a 2.16 GAA lifetime against Boston.
Los Angeles' Justin Williams was held without a point Friday, ending his career-best 11-game streak. Anze Kopitar had an assist to extend his point streak to five games. He has three goals and six assists during the run.
The Kings have won the last three meetings, one in overtime and the last two in shootouts. Boston hasn't won at home in this series since a 5-0 victory Jan. 10, 2002.