Ottawa Senators' Cory Conacher (89) and Milan Michalek (9) battle Boston Bruins' Dennis Seidenberg (44) for the rebound off Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Rask posts 33-save shutout, Bruins crush Senators

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Tuukka Rask took the NHL lead with his fourth shutout while simultaneously earning his 20th victory of 2013-14 in the Boston Bruins’ 5-0 victory over Ottawa on Friday.

Rask turned aside 33 straight shots, including 15 in the first period.

Of course, he got plenty of support. Jarome Iginla’s power-play goal in the second period proved to be the game winner while Reilly Smith found the back of the net twice.

Acquired in the Tyler Seguin deal, Smith now leads the Bruins with 14 goals this season. He also ranks second on the team with 30 points in 38 contests.

The Bruins have now won three straight games and have outscored their opponents 15-3 over that span. All the same, with the Tampa Bay Lightning surging and the Montreal Canadiens enjoying a strong first half of 2013-14, Boston’s spot atop the Atlantic Division is far from secure.

Bruins’ Paille (concussion) will face Senators Friday

Daniel Paille
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The Boston Bruins have dealt with more than their fair share of injuries recently, but they got some good news on that front today. Forward Daniel Paille is ready to return from a concussion after a seven-game absence.

The 29-year-old is projected to play alongside Gregory Campbell and Jordan Caron on the team’s fourth line in tonight’s match against the Ottawa Senators, according to the team’s website.

Paille isn’t a major offensive threat, but they could certainly use the depth given that fellow forwards Shawn Thornton (suspension), Loui Eriksson (concussion), and Chris Kelly (broken fibula) are all unavailable. Paille is also likely to help kill penalties now that he’s back.

The Bruins have just a three-point cushion on the Atlantic Division title going into this contest. Meanwhile the Senators are four points shy of a postseason of the final Wild Card spot.

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Bruins recall Svedberg, reigning AHL goalie of the year

NiklasSvedberg
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The Boston Bruins have recalled goalie Niklas Svedberg from AHL Providence.

Svedberg, 24, is 11-5-3 this year with a 2.91 GAA and .907 save percentage with the baby Bruins. It’s unclear at the moment why he was recalled, as all three Boston goalies — Tuukka Rask, Chad Johnson and Svedberg — were on the ice this morning at practice.

Last season, Svedberg won the Baz Bastien Memorial Award as the American League’s top netminder, posting 37 wins, a 2.17 GAA and .925 save percentage along with four shutouts.

In doing so, Svedberg became the first rookie to be named top goalie since Jim Carey did it in 1994-95.

Update: Some more info on why Svedberg was recalled…

Bruins chase Hutton from Predators’ net early in first period

Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators
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Carter Hutton’s night against the Boston Bruins lasted less than six minutes Monday.

The Nashville Predators’ goalie was given the yank after allowing two goals – first Jarome Iginla just 1:16 into the game and then Matt Fraser with his first of the season and second career NHL goal – in five minutes and 59 seconds.

The Bruins, looking to increase their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division, jumped out to a 3-0 advantage over the Predators in the first period.

The Bruins entered the game with seven wins in their last 10 games, and led the Lightning by three points atop the division standings.

Eriksson, wounded Bruins making progress

LouiEriksson
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The Boston Bruins have been hit hard by injuries this season, but they got some positive news on that front yesterday, with one noteworthy exception.

Forward Brad Marchand was banged up enough after Saturday’s contest to justify him skipping yesterday’s practice, the team’s website reported.

The silver lining is that he was fine to travel to Nashville and might still play against the Predators tonight.

In the meantime, Daniel Paille (concussion) took Marchand’s place on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith during the Bruins’ practice. He resumed skating on Friday, but he won’t be available tonight.

Nor will Loui Eriksson, who is also sidelined with a concussion. Eriksson isn’t as far along in his recovery as Paille, but Julien noted that he’s been feeling better.

“(Eriksson) doesn’t mind being around right now and that’s a step in the right direction where, at one point he couldn’t tolerate too much noise or too much activity around him,” Julien said. “So it’s a step in the right direction here.”

One injured player that might be ready to rejoin the Bruins is defenseman Adam McQuaid. He’s been sidelined for nine straight contests with a re-aggravated lower-body injury, but Julien called him a “possibility” for tonight’s contest.

Boston has a three-point lead in the Atlantic Division race, but the Tampa Bay Lightning have been hot lately. With the Montreal Canadiens also within striking distance of the Bruins, Boston can’t afford to slow down in the second half of the 2013-14 campaign.