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Bruins beat Wild for ninth win in a row

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- With a three-game road trip looming, the Boston Bruins made sure to give their home fans another winning-streak-extending performance Monday night.

The Bruins extended their streak to nine games with points from eight different players and 33 saves from goaltender Tuukka Rask in a 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.

Boston (46-17-5) went 3-0 on its homestand and is on its longest winning streak since it won 10 in a row in November 2011. The Bruins had never beaten the Wild at home in six prior meetings.

Rask has won six in a row and the Bruins have allowed one or no goals six times during the streak. The Bruins have averaged four goals per game during the impressive run.

"Well we've scored a lot of goals I think. And we've just found a way to win," said Rask, who has a .947 save percentage in his past six starts. "We've played some really good games and then we've played some OK games. It's a sign of a good team when you win when you don't play at your best. And I think we've just found a way to win most nights."

But Bruins coach Claude Julien wants to make sure his team doesn't get a collective swelled head. Rask had to make a couple stops on breakaways and the Bruins were outshot 16-10 in the third period.

"We had some stuff to look at before tonight. ... It was just another one of those games where goaltending was good. Again too many breakaways or good scoring chances, and we have to fix that," Julien said. "But again, we played well enough to win. And I think offensively we did a lot of good things. We've just got to make sure we continue to fine tune our game and don't get complacent."

Jarome Iginla scored twice for the Bruins; Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith added one goal apiece.

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped 25 of 28 shots and Jason Pominville scored for the Wild (35-23-10), who started a three-game road trip with their second regulation loss in their past 12 games (6-2-4).

"It's tough to sit here after a 4-1 loss, but you can't be too disappointed with the effort of our guys tonight," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "And obviously kind of a tough bounce on their first goal, but I thought we were really taking the play to them. Even with that our guys were staying with it after two periods. They get a late goal and we're still right there. And obviously that's not an easy team to come back against."

After a scoreless first period, the offense picked up in the second beginning with a fluky goal by Iginla at 3:52. The Bruins forward took a shot on the rush that deflected off Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin and then dropped through Kuemper's five-hole.

Eriksson doubled the Bruins' lead after some yeoman's work by linemate Carl Soderberg, who stole the puck at the Minnesota blue line and circled the net before making a backhand pass across the slot to Eriksson. The goal gave Boston a 2-0 lead with 11:55 elapsed.

"Yeah, that definitely hurt for sure," Minnesota forward Kyle Brodziak said. "We were really happy with our first period. We felt like we were playing the game like we were supposed to. It's too bad we couldn't get a couple breaks early on, that might've changed the game a little bit. But yeah, it's tough when you give up two quick ones like that."

Minnesota pulled within one at 18:34. Ryan Suter's pass out of the Wild zone sprung Pominville with Boston defenseman Andrej Meszaros hot on his trail. Pominville broke his stick on his slap shot from the top of the right circle and the puck eluded Rask.

"Well it is [distracting]," Rask said about the broken stick. "You get the read on a shot and then you react and then it goes the other, but there's nothing you can do about it. I wasn't watching the stick. Yeah, it's tough."

Smith's first goal in 16 games put Boston ahead 3-1 at 7:50 of the third period. The Bruins wing banged in a rebound of a Patrice Bergeron shot from the right side of the slot.

Iginla sealed the game with an empty-net goal at 18:55.

Each team gets right back at it Tuesday; Boston will visit the New Jersey Devils while the Wild continue their road trip against the New York Islanders.

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