NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 21st
(All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (47-17-5) at Colorado Avalanche (44-20-6), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will try to record their longest
winning streak in over four decades when they take aim at an 11th straight
victory in Friday's road test against the Colorado Avalanche.
Boston is the hottest team in the NHL at the moment and earned its 10th
consecutive win Tuesday night in New Jersey. The Bruins have won 10 in a row
for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign and the club's last 11-game
winning streak came during a 13-game tear from Feb. 23-March 20, 1971.
"I just think our guys have been playing hard throughout the whole lineup,"
Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday's win over the Devils.
The hot streak has helped Boston open a nearly insurmountable lead atop the
Atlantic Division standings. The Bruins are 14 points ahead of second-place
Tampa Bay in the division and also are four points in front of Pittsburgh for
the Eastern Conference lead.
Brad Marchand and Jarome Iginla scored 59 seconds apart early in the second
stanza to help boost the Bruins record a 4-2 decision in New Jersey.
Devils forward Patrik Elias evened the game at 1-1 with his 5-on-3 power-play
goal 29 seconds into the second period, but Marchand answered with a short-
handed tally 54 seconds later before Iginla followed with his 26th of the
season at the 2:22 mark to provide the visitors with a two-goal edge.
Iginla has scored a goal in four straight games and has notched seven markers
over his past six contests.
Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly also lit the lamp for the Bruins, while Chad
Johnson backstopped the victory with 22 saves.
It was the fifth straight road win for Boston, which carries a 19-10-3 record
as the guest into tonight's game. The Bruins are playing the middle test of a
three-game road trip on Friday and will cap the swing tomorrow night in
Bruins No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask expects to be back in net on Friday. He is
0-3-0 in his career against Colorado despite sporting a strong 2.03 goals
against average and .931 save percentage in this matchup.
Rask took a tough-luck loss when the Avalanche visited Boston back on Oct. 10,
stopping 28-of-29 shots in a 2-0 setback. That marked the second straight
shutout win in the series for Colorado, which also recorded a 1-0 win at
Boston on Oct. 2011.
The Avs have won three of four and five of the last seven meetings in this
series overall, but Boston has claimed two in a row and four of the past five
encounters in Denver.
Colorado is back at the Pepsi Center tonight after dropping the final two
tests of a three-game road trip. The Avs opened the swing on Sunday with a win
over Ottawa before losing at Montreal and Winnipeg.
The Avs, who are one point behind Chicago for second place in the Central
Division, lost 6-3 to the Canadiens on Tuesday before picking up a point the
following night against the Jets.
Colorado recovered from deficits of 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 to send the game into
overtime, but Blake Wheeler scored 1:42 into the extra session to lift
Winnipeg to the 5-4 victory at MTS Centre.
Wheeler carried the puck from the left wing into the right circle, waiting
until a mass of bodies crowded the crease before firing a shot past Colorado
goaltender Reto Berra.
Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Nick Holden and Cody McLeod lit the lamp for
the Avalanche. Berra, the third goaltender on Colorado's roster, turned aside
22-of-27 shots in his first game with the Avalanche since they acquired him
from the Calgary Flames.
"I think we did a good job of staying in this game, and coming back multiple
times ... Certainly, it's a big point for us, and we'll take that," Landeskog
Colorado is 23-10-3 as the host this season and will play three of its next
four games in the Mile High City.
Avs forward John Mitchell is questionable for Friday's game after suffering a
back injury in the loss against the Jets. Fellow forward Paul Stastny,
however, expects to play tonight after sitting out the game in Winnipeg.
Stastny returned from a four-game absence due to his own back issues to play
Tuesday against Montreal, but was held out of Wednesday's game for
Meanwhile, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk is questionable for tonight after
sitting out the last two games with an ankle injury. Boychuk practiced with
team on Thursday for the first time since suffering the injury in Saturday's
game against Carolina.
Semyon Varlamov expects to get the start in net for Colorado. He is 1-1-1 with
a 2.10 GAA and .931 save percentage in four career appearances against Boston.
03/21 10:44:19 ET