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At the Rink blog

Avalanche aim to end Bruins' win streak

Friday, 03.21.2014 / 4:44 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Avalanche aim to end Bruins' win streak

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche will attempt to end the Boston Bruins' winning streak at 10 games Friday at Pepsi Center.

The Bruins are perfect since a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on March 1 and can clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a win against the Avalanche. They also can clinch by picking up one point against the Avalanche if the New York Rangers lose in regulation Friday to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Boston has a comfortable lead in the Atlantic Division, tops the Eastern Conference with 99 points and is two points behind the St. Louis Blues for first in the NHL.

Colorado is third in the Central Division with 94 points, one behind the second-place Chicago Blackhawks, who play the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

"They've been real hot lately," Avalanche center Matt Duchene said of the Bruins, "so we want to put an end to their streak. You want to finish as high as possible, whether that's second or first [in the division]. St. Louis is pretty far ahead, so it'll be tough to catch them.

"We have tremendous respect for [the Bruins] because they're a top team in the League, but we don't give them too much respect. We believe this should be a good game [Friday] and one that we can win. We want to crank it up. We have a little extra motivation just because of the way the last two games on the road went."

The Avalanche completed a three-game road trip with a 1-1-1 record, losing 6-3 to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday and 5-4 in overtime to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 39 saves Oct. 10 when the Avalanche defeated the Bruins 2-0, but goalie Semyon Varlamov will start Friday.

Center Paul Stastny will play after missing five of the past six games with a back injury, but center John Mitchell will miss his second game in a row after hurting his back in Montreal. Defenseman Tyson Barrie will play right wing on the Avalanche's third line with left wing Cody McLeod and center Maxime Talbot.

The Bruins are 9-0-3 in their past 12 road games and haven't lost in regulation on the road since a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 9.

Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who has missed two games with a foot injury, will be a game-time decision against the Avalanche. He took part in an optional skate Thursday, participated in the morning skate Friday and will test his foot in the warmup.

Goalie Chad Johnson is expected to start. He's won four consecutive games and has allowed two goals or fewer eight times while posting a 9-0-1 record in his past 10 decisions.

Here are the projected lineups for the Avalanche and Bruins:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Matt Bartkowski - Andrej Meszaros

Chad Johnson

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Jordan Caron, Corey Potter

Injured: Johnny Boychuk (foot), Adam McQuaid (quadriceps), Dennis Seidenberg (knee)

AVALANCHE

Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - Jamie McGinn

Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Nathan MacKinnon

Cody McLeod - Maxime Talbot - Tyson Barrie

Brad Malone - Marc-Andre Cliche - Patrick Bordeleau

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich

Nick Holden - Nate Guenin

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Reto Berra, Ryan Wilson

Injured: John Mitchell (back), PA Parenteau (knee), Alex Tanguay (hip)

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You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense