LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tanner Pearson and Alec Martinez scored and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves, leading the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Los Angeles’ 11th victory in 14 games, coupled with the Arizona Coyotes’ 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay, clinched a playoff berth for the Kings — who last season became the eighth team in NHL history to miss the postseason a year after winning the Stanley Cup.
The Kings, vying for just their second division title in franchise history, lead the Pacific by six points over Anaheim and seven over San Jose with 11 games left on the schedule.
Tyler Randell scored for Boston and Tuukka Rask stopped 18 shots. The Bruins remained three points behind Florida in the Atlantic Division race with nine games remaining — including a showdown with the Panthers next Thursday in Boston.
Pearson opened the scoring at 19:09 of the first period with his 13th goal, redirecting Luke Schenn’s one-timer from the right point over Rask’s right shoulder after Vincent Lecavalier intercepted defenseman Torey Krug’s attempted backhanded clearing pass up the boards. The Kings are 12-0-0 when Pearson scores a goal.
Martinez made it 2-0 at 2:40 of the second with his ninth of the season, getting a return pass from Jake Muzzin and using teammate Anze Kopitar as a screen to beat Rask to the glove side with a one-timer from 55 feet.
The Bruins, coming off a 4-0 loss at Anaheim on Friday night, got on the board when Randell intercepted Kopitar’s attempted clearing pass from behind the net and scored on a 35-foot wrist shot at 5:46 of the second. The rookie’s sixth goal came about a half-minute after Quick stopped a breakaway by Matt Beleskey, who was playing in his 400th regular-season game.
The last time the teams met on Feb. 9, the Kings won 9-2 at Boston with nine different players scoring goals for them. They had a season-high 57 shots on net and were 3 for 3 on the power play.
NOTES: The Kings were 10-3-0 this season against the “Original Six” franchises, winning their last eight. … Sunday is Bobby Orr’s 68th birthday. … The Bruins lost all three games on their California swing for the second straight season, and are 1-8-0 in the Golden State since the start of the 2013-14 campaign. … Rask was the second goalie selected in the 2005 draft and Quick was the seventh. Rask has 165 wins, 30 shutouts, a Vezina Trophy and a Stanley Cup ring. Quick has 249 wins, 41 shutouts, a Conn Smythe Trophy and two Stanley Cup rings. … Bruins D Kevan Miller, who was born in Los Angeles, had a career plus-minus rating of plus-53 in three NHL seasons. … The Kings finished their schedule against Eastern Conference teams with a 20-9-3 record. … The Kings are 37-1-5 when allowing fewer than three goals.
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)