Ottawa Senators v Boston Bruins

Bruins keep on rolling, defeat Wild for ninth straight win


A 4-1 victory over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Monday night gave the Bruins their ninth consecutive win, and that has increased their lead atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Against the Wild, the Bruins once again got strong goaltending from Tuukka Rask – watch this glove save on Mikko Koivu in the second period – and veteran forward Jarome Iginla continued to contribute, scoring twice, although neither goal was of particular beauty. He’s now up to 25 goals on the season, and six goals in his last five games.

At this point in the season, with the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins dealing with injuries, it would appear the Bruins are again the frontrunners to come out of the East later this spring. If they were to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final – we said ‘if’ – that would make it three times in four seasons the Bruins make it to the championship series.

Get your game notes: Wild at Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Minnesota Wild starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Boston and Minnesota meet tonight for the first time since Feb. 19, 2012 (2-0 MIN win), and the 13th time overall. The Wild are 10-1-1 all-time against the Bruins, and have never lost in Boston (6-0-0), having allowed a total of six goals and shut out the Bruins twice at TD Garden. Minnesota’s .875 points% vs. Boston is its best against any opponent, while the Bruins’ .167 vs. the Wild matches their worst (1-5-0 vs. Hamilton Tigers, defunct in 1925).

• Boston’s eight-game win streak is the team’s longest since a 10-game run from Nov. 1-23, 2011. The Bruins, the NHL leaders with a +1.05 goal differential (3.18 goals/game; 2.13 GA/game), have outscored opponents 32-12 during the streak. The longest win streak in Bruins history lasted 14 games, from Dec. 3, 1929-Jan. 9, 1930.

• Minnesota has won only 12 of 32 road games this season (12-15-5); only Buffalo has fewer road wins (7-21-3). Boston, winner of four straight at TD Garden, leads the league with 27 home wins (27-7-2).

• Claude Julien picked up his 300th win as Bruins head coach on Friday, and now has 301 wins (second in franchise history, behind Hall of Famer Art Ross – 361). Since taking over as coach before the 2008-09 season, Julien has wins at TD Garden vs. all but three teams: St. Louis (0-4-0), Colorado (0-3-0) and the Wild (0-2-0).

• Bruins G Tuukka Rask reached 30 wins (30-14-4) for the first time in his career on Friday. The NHL’s shutouts leader (6) is just 1-1-4 vs. the Central Division this season, however, despite his 1.75 GAA, .943 save%.

• Bruins winger Jarome Iginla leads all NHL players – active or retired – in career goals (35) and points (65) in 70 games vs. the Wild. All of those were registered while Iginla was a member of the Calgary Flames. (Elias Sports Bureau) The 36-year-old – who tonight will become the 55th player to reach 1,300 NHL games – has 10 goals and 14 assists over his last 18 games. (Prior to that, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in his first 49 games this season.)

• Boston’s Torey Krug scored his 14th goal of the season Saturday vs. Carolina, two nights after a healthy scratch vs. Phoenix. Krug leads all rookie defensemen with 14 goals and 36 points. Saturday’s goal moved him past Bobby Orr for the third-highest goal total by a Bruins rookie d-man – only five of whom have ever reached double digits in goals:


• Darcy Kuemper is expected to be in Minnesota’s net for his fourth straight start and 20th in the Wild’s last 21 games. Kuemper is 6-1-2 with a 1.62 GAA and .940 save% in his last nine starts; at 12-4-4, he is tied for second in wins among rookie goalies (Frederik Andersen, ANA – 16; Antti Raanta, CHI, Eddie Lack, VAN – 12).

• Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu (127-308=435 points, 586 GP) is 2 points shy of tying Marian Gaborik (219-218=437, 502 GP for MIN) for most in Wild history. Gaborik was the Wild’s first-ever first-round draft pick (3rd overall, 2000); Koivu was their second (6th overall, 2001).

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins look to keep rolling against Wild

Jarome Iginla, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Cam Ward

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Boston Bruins host the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

When the Bruins host the Wild tonight it’ll mark their first match-up of the season. We’re this late into the season and these interconference foes will go from not playing each other to facing off twice in the next three weeks (April 8 in St. Paul).

Boston has won eight straight games and lead the Eastern Conference by three points. Their control of the Atlantic Division is something to behold as they lead the Montreal Canadiens by 14 points. To say they’re on a roll would be an understatement.

The Bruins have had their line of Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic, and David Krejci dominating opponents recently. Iginla has scored four goals and five points in the past four games while Lucic has two goals and six points in that span. Krejci, meanwhile, has 23 points in the past 21 games.

Throw in Tuukka Rask being one of the league’s top goalies and Zdeno Chara being one of the top defensemen and you’ve got a real buzzsaw of a team to get a handle of and that’s not even mentioning how good Patrice Bergeron has been this season as a two-way forward.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,200 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s late NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $275. Starts Monday at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Wild, meanwhile, are winless in four of the past five games. That run is discouraging when they’d won five in a row before running into some hard luck. If there’s a bonus in losing, three of those four losses have come in shootouts and the Wild are hanging onto the first wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Darcy Kuemper has jumped into the fire in goal and helped steady things. After losing Niklas Backstrom for the season to injury and Josh Harding’s struggles with illness, goaltending became a big question. With how Kuemper has played, that’s not the case so much anymore.

The Wild’s offense has been coming from the guys they’ve needed to pick things up to make a playoff push and a dominant top line of their own.

The unit made up of Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, and Mikael Granlund have combined for 35 points since they were united on Jan. 30. Parise has a four-game point streak and has a scorching eight goals and nine assists in the past 13 games. Pominville has eight points in the past five games and Granlund has been electric since returning from Sochi with seven points in eight games.

The Wild could stand to see captain Mikko Koivu pick up his game. Since returning to action on March 3 from an ankle injury, he has just two assists. Ryan Suter is in a similar drought with just three assists since returning from Sochi.

As far as measuring stick games go, this is as big as it gets for the Wild. If they want to see where they’re at as a playoff contender, there’s