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Pregame Notebook: B's Look to Make it 10 Straight

The B's are in New Jersey to face the Devils in the second game of a back-to-back with their 9-game winning streak on the line

Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 11:32 AM / Features
By Jess Isner  - BostonBruins.com
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Pregame Notebook: B\'s Look to Make it 10 Straight
When you\u2019re riding a nine-game winning streak in the midst of the most important stretch of the season, it can be easy to get caught up in the highs. But right now, the Bruins are concentrating on making sure that doesn\u2019t happen to them.

NEW JERSEY — When you’re riding a nine-game winning streak in the midst of the most important stretch of the season, it can be easy to get caught up in the highs. But right now, the Bruins are concentrating on making sure that doesn’t happen to them.

Monday night’s win over Minnesota put the Bruins 16 points ahead of their closest competition in the Atlantic Division and five points ahead of Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference. Their offense is clicking, their D corps is clicking and the goaltending of Tuukka Rask and Chad Johnson has been resoundingly solid since the conclusion of the Olympic Break.

But, as they prepare to face the Devils on Tuesday night in the tail end of this back-to-back, the Bruins are the first ones to say that they are far from perfect.

“We had some stuff to look at before [the game] — in case you guys didn’t know that,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following Monday night’s 4-1 win over Minnesota. “Just another one of those games where goaltending was good. Again, too many breakaways or good scoring chances, and we have to fix that.”

“But again, we played well enough to win. I think offensively, we did a lot of good things. Again, we just got to make sure we continue to fine-tune our game and don’t get complacent. We’re young back there and there’s still some things guys need to learn.”

Tuukka Rask has continued to prove himself to be one of the NHL’s elite goaltenders. He finished the night with 33 saves, including a highlight reel stop on Mikko Koivu from point-blank range in the second period to preserve a 1-0 Bruins lead.

Rask has now won six straight, but backup goaltender Chad Johnson has been an equally significant component of this winning streak. He has won his two most recent starts at Florida and against Carolina, and his consistency has been imperative to keeping the Bruins rolling, given a jam-packed March schedule that features 17 games in total and plenty of back-to-backs.

“Our goaltending has been outstanding all year, without question,” said forward Jarome Iginla after Monday’s win. “We’re very fortunate to have them on net, and they do give us a chance every night. Big momentum shifts.”

“We also feel as the game goes on, the physical style that we play, we can start taking the game over as it goes on and try to wear teams down. We take a lot of pride in being a real good third period team and having that great goaltending.”

If the Bruins want to extend this winning streak to 10 games, they’re going to need another solid performance from whoever ends up in net. In the first matchup between these two teams this season, the Devils won 4-3 at TD Garden on October 26. Rask made 28 saves that day, but the Devils capitalized on two late power play chances to get to the best of the B’s.

After Monday’s game, Rask said that while the streak has been impressive, the Bruins need to be better if they want it to continue.

“It’s good that we get those wins,” he said. "But I don’t think that we’ve played our best hockey all of these games, giving up those breakaways, stuff like that. But for the most part, I think we’re playing pretty good; the offense is good.”

Another Milestone for Iggy

Bruins forward Jarome Iginla keeps racking up the milestones of late. Since recording his 550th career goal back on March 10 against Florida, he hasn’t slowed down.

Iginla has five goals in his last three games, netting two against the Wild. In another milestone achievement, Iginla played in the 1300th game of his career against the Wild, becoming just the fifth active player to do so.

Now, with 555 career goals, he is now one goal shy of tying Bruins legend Johnny Bucyk for 25th place on the all-time goals list. While the personal achievements are certainly nice, Iginla is staying focused on what this team is trying to do right now: hold on to that top spot in the Eastern Conference.

“It feels good, but we’re really trying to stay focused on our game and what we’re trying to improve on,” Iginla said on Monday. “There’s some things we go over that we do need to improve on. I thought we were pretty solid [last night]. Minnesota is a good club and they came out very strong.”

“I thought it was a fun game to be a part of, I thought we pushed back psychically, and I thought it was a good hockey game. Feels good to win it.”

Johnny Boychuk Day-to-Day

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk did not play in Monday’s game against Minnesota after going awkwardly into the boards in the third period of Saturday's game against Carolina.

Following Monday’s pregame skate at TD Garden, Julien had deemed Boychuk day-to-day and said that the defenseman had been unable to skate on Monday due to soreness. The Bruins dressed seven blueliners for warmups, with Corey Potter eventually sitting out as the healthy scratch. Head Coach Claude Julien's pregame availability in New Jersey will take place around 5:50 p.m. ET, and there will likely be an update then on Boychuk's status (follow on Twitter @NHLBruins ^JI).

Bruins Projected Lines vs. New Jersey

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Andrej Meszaros, Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Corey Potter, Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Boychuk*

*Day-to-day, per Head Coach Claude Julien

Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask // Chad Johnson

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
3 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
6 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
7 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
8 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 61 18 26 4 44
L. Eriksson 61 14 21 2 35
R. Smith 62 12 23 11 35
B. Marchand 57 18 16 8 34
M. Lucic 61 13 21 11 34
D. Hamilton 62 10 24 0 34
C. Soderberg 62 10 24 6 34
T. Krug 58 11 20 6 31
D. Krejci 38 7 19 7 26
C. Kelly 60 7 19 8 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 25 16 9 .920 2.34
N. Svedberg 6 5 0 .917 2.39
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