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Bruins Take Two of Three in California

By Anthony Garofalo
On March 26, 2012
Bruins road-trip
Bruins - Sharks (L) 1 2
Bruins - Kings (W) 4 2
Bruins - Ducks (W) 3 2

The Boston Bruins will be a little groggy-eyed on the plane ride home from the West Coast, but it will be smooth sailing as they just completed their three-game, California roadie finishing with a 2-1-0 record.

"I liked our effort the entire trip," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "We got some good goaltending and our players just found ways to score goals every game."

The trip began late Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks.

For the Sharks, they are on the outside looking in as far as the Western Conference playoff standings are concerned. They are going to rely heavily on goaltender Antti Niemi the rest of the way. Niemi was 4-0 with a 1.96 GAA and had one shutout against the Bruins prior to Thursday's matchup.

There were just too many turnovers for Boston, making it an easy win for the Sharks as they knocked off the B's, 2-1. Niemi remains unbeaten against the Bruins.

On Saturday night, the Black-and-Gold was in action against the Los Angeles Kings -- another desperate squad who is scraping up every last point in the month of March.

It was a significant night for the B's because it was Zdeno Chara's 1,000th career NHL game. The captain is considered one of the game's best defenders and it is no surprise that he has reached this mark. What makes this honor even more special is that he accomplished this feat by wearing Black-and-Gold.

Boston grabbed two late goals in the third, scored by Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly. The Kings made it interesting when Slava Voynov cut the lead in half with about five minutes remaining. After the Bruins killed off a Kings' power play, Tim Thomas robbed L.A. on four scoring chances. Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal to preserve the 4-2 victory.

Sunday night was the final game of the road trip as they took on the Anaheim Ducks.

Rich Peverley, who missed 19 games with a sprained MCL, was back in the lineup for this game. He got some time on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand. Daniel Paille was the healthy scratch while Jordan Caron took his place on the fourth line.

Playing in back-to-back games does not always benefit a goaltender, which is why Thomas took a seat for this one and Marty Turco got the start. He opposed Jonas Hiller who won his last three starts against the Bruins.

Through much of the first two periods, the Bruins were tight on the defensive end of the ice. The B's finished the game with 15 blocked shots.

Boston got on the board first in the second period on a Chara slap shot from the blue line. The Bruins took a two-goal lead when Benoit Pouliot recorded his 13th goal of the season after a crisp pass from Kelly. Anaheim pulled within one when Teemu Selanne notched his 24th goal of the season on the power play.

The Ducks started to turn things around in the third period. However, a disallowed goal killed any momentum they started to build. Brian Rolston beat Hiller for his seventh goal of the season moments later. Rolston has now recorded 11 points in six games.

The third line for the Bruins has been consistent and productive, especially on this road trip. The Pouliot-Kelly-Rolston line has given the B's back their depth in a stretch where it looked like the injuries would have proven too much.

"We have been playing very well together. All we are asked to do is go out there and make plays," said Rolston.

Lubomir Visnovsky put another tally on the board for Anaheim to cut the lead in half once again.

Turco came up with some big saves in the final minutes to seal the victory. Boston won this game, 3-2, and ended their losing streak against the Ducks. Turco finished with 25 saves on 27 shots.

"I wanted to come in and focus on the task at hand," said Turco. "I have been around a long time and I know what is expected from me. The guys in front of me played a great game."

Boston currently sits at the top of the Northeast Division with 91 points. They have seven games remaining on the schedule, four of which will take place at the TD Garden.

The Bruins will be back in action Tuesday night at home when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Follow Anthony on Twitter: @Anthony_Gar


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