LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter isn't one for pregame ceremonies, but he appeared to crack a smile before the opening faceoff Thursday night when he was honored for coaching his 1,000th NHL game, a mark he reached on Jan. 4.
Chances are he smiled afterward as well.
Los Angeles snapped out of a 1-5-1 slide with one of its best all-around games this season in a 4-2 win against the Boston Bruins.
The Kings scored four goals for the first time in nine games, and they did it against one of the NHL's stingiest teams. Jonathan Quick shone in the third period with saves on Carl Soderberg, Ryan Spooner and Brad Marchand, and recent Canadian Olympic selection Jeff Carter put 10 shots on goal and scored his team-leading 16th of the season.
"They're the best in the East," captain Dustin Brown said. "We had to get back on our game. We played a consistent game … we limited our mistakes tonight, which is how we have to play, but I also think we beared down on our chances. As of late, we've been struggling to score, and it's nice to give Quickie a cushion."
L.A. improved to 13-2-2 against Eastern Conference teams, and Sutter admitted some satisfaction.
"We haven't played all of [the East teams] yet," Sutter said. "We still have a few to go, but we're doing fine."
Quick has stopped 63 of 67 shots in three games since returning from a groin injury. His stop on Marchand on a partial shorthanded breakaway prompted the Bruins agitator to bang his stick on the glass in frustration. That about summed up the night for Boston, which was outscored 9-4 in Southern California against the Anaheim Ducks and Kings and heads north to play the San Jose Sharks on Saturday to complete its California swing.
"We know we can be better," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. "It's one of those things where it's a bit frustrating. We know we can play much better than we are right now. We need to get that game back, and it's not going to happen overnight and it's not going to happen trying to make some high-risk plays. We've just got to stay patient and slowly gain our game back."
L.A. took a 3-0 lead with goals in the opening 1:45 of the second period. Justin Williams slipped through the defense and beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to the far side 44 seconds after the opening faceoff. Alec Martinez then scored on a rising 60-foot slap shot, leading Boston coach Claude Julien to pull Rask in favor of Chad Johnson. Rask allowed three goals on 18 shots; Johnson made 16 saves.
It was the second straight game that Boston fell into a 3-0 hole.
"You've got to do something to shake things up and I think it worked again," Rask said of being pulled. "I think it's a sad thing that we have to give up three goals before we start playing. It [stinks] for me but it's a team game and you've got to do whatever it takes to get your team ready."
Williams' goal came with Dougie Hamilton serving an interference minor for playing the puck while coming out of the penalty box.
Boston is 0-2-0 to start its difficult three-game stretch against the California teams, and the common denominator is penalties. The Bruins have been shorthanded nine times and allowed four power-play goals to the Ducks and Kings. Boston, which allows the second-fewest goals per game in the League (2.18), has surrendered 24 goals in its past six road games.
Julien cited the poor start and an offense that couldn't climb back into the game in time. Boston got Milan Lucic back in the lineup after he sat out the game in Anaheim due to illness, but he had one shot on goal and was a minus-2.
"We didn't get much from our top two lines, and you need that if you're going to win some hockey games," Julien said. "They were pretty quiet. It was one of those situations where you had to battle back from a 3-0 against a team that's pretty stingy to start with.
"Again, puck management, missed assignments - those kind of things are going to end up costing you and we're getting exposed in those areas right now where we've got to get better."
The Kings controlled the first period and came out with a 1-0 lead on Carter's goal. Johnny Boychuk whiffed on a pass and Anze Kopitar grabbed it to set up Carter, who put in his own rebound at 10:32.
Carter also stole the puck from Chara and caused Hamilton to take a tripping penalty on the same shift to set up a power play later in the period.
Carter has 16 points in his past 14 games. He was two shy of his career best for shots in a game.
"You just expect it," Williams said. "You take it for granted that every game he's going to be there. He's going to have four or five shots. He's going to have some good opportunities and because of the scorer he is, all of them are going to go in."