LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings were two teams going in the wrong direction, the losses suddenly piling up for both of them.
Something had to change when they met Thursday night and it did for the Bruins, who made Zdeno Chara’s tiebreaking goal in the second period stand up for a 2-1 victory over the Kings.
“Our guys were sick of losing,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said after his team snapped a four-game skid.
The Kings, however, continued their unexpected spiral. After starting the season 11-2-2 for the best record in the Western Conference, they have dropped four in a row.
“We’re going to have to dig down,” coach John Stevens said. “You can’t have part of your lineup going. You need your whole lineup going if you’re going to win. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”
The Kings won in Boston on Oct. 28 in the last second of overtime off a faceoff. This time, the Bruins returned the favor.
Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff for Boston in the first period and the puck went to Charlie McAvoy, who skated across the crease and lifted a backhand over the shoulder of goalie Jonathan Quick.
“I thought we played a much more complete game,” McAvoy said. “We really wanted to get a win. It’s been a while. We put together a complete 60 minutes.”
Los Angeles tied it 1-all at 4:33 of the second on a power play. Jussi Jokinen found Drew Doughty open in the middle and the defenseman flicked in his fourth of the season.
Boston regained the lead at 13:16 when Chara fired a slap shot from outside the lower part of the circle that deflected off the stick of Los Angeles’ Trevor Lewis a few feet in front of the net. The puck nicked the back of Quick’s jersey and went in for Chara’s second goal this season.
“I’m real happy with the way we played,” Chara said. “We battled and deserved to win.”
But the Bruins still had to hang on to preserve the victory, with almost 27 minutes yet to play.
“It’s been an issue for us, closing out games,” Cassidy said. “We did it well, comfortable. We didn’t look scrambly. We didn’t look like we lost our composure or poise.”
The Kings never got another puck past backup goalie Anton Khudobin, who stopped 27 shots and improved to 4-0-2.
Quick made 28 saves for Los Angeles.
“You had that sense we did not want to let it go,” Chara said. “You had that feel on the bench.”
The Kings aren’t sure what to feel after getting off to such an impressive start and now suddenly reeling.
“I don’t think we’re playing a 60-minute game,” Anze Kopitar said. “Parts of the games, we play like we need to be, where we’re in their zone making plays, creating chances.
“And in parts of the games, we’re just pretty much non-existent out there. That’s got to change. We have to have a better effort from everybody for a full game.”
NOTES: Boston center David Krejci returned after missing 11 games with an upper-body injury. He played 18 minutes. “I felt pretty good for my first game back,” Krejci said. . Kopitar assisted on Doughty’s goal, extending his point streak to a career-best nine games. . The Kings had one four-game losing streak all last season. . The Bruins earned their second road win of the season.
Bruins: Head to San Jose to play the Sharks on Saturday.
Kings: Stay home Saturday to host the Florida Panthers.
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