Little has interrupted the Boston Bruins' success this season. The St. Louis Blues, though, have posed a challenge for them in recent years.
The surging but suddenly injury-beset Bruins look to end a seven-game winless streak against the Blues - and an equally lengthy slide in St. Louis - on Sunday night.
Boston (23-5-4) dropped five of its first seven contests in 2008-09, but has gone 21-3-1 since Oct. 25. The Bruins have collected 43 points to tie league-leading San Jose, which has posted a 20-3-3 mark over that span.
The Bruins' surge has been fueled by an offense that has amassed 118 goals, including 23 during the Eastern Conference leaders' current four-game winning streak.
On Saturday, four players scored for Boston in a 4-2 win over Carolina, but that was overshadowed by the loss of center Patrice Bergeron following an open-ice collision with the Hurricanes' Dennis Seidenberg.
Bergeron was helped from the ice with an apparent head or neck injury. He is listed day-to-day, but the team will likely be very cautious as Bergeron missed almost all of last season with a concussion and broken nose.
"The doctors have been looking at it," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bergeron, who has four goals and 14 assists in 31 games this season. "They haven't given us any indication as far as the severity of it.
"Obviously, he went down a little dazed. We're not able to give you a verdict. That's all I can tell you about that situation."
During the game, the Bruins placed forward Marco Sturm on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury that will keep him out at least 30 days. Sturm has scored four of his seven goals this season on the power play.
If the Bruins are to secure a season high-tying fifth straight win, they'll need to end their recent struggles against the Blues (13-16-3).
Boston is 0-2-5 against them since posting a home win on Jan. 30, 2001. The Bruins, who also open a five-game road trip, have dropped seven straight (0-3-4) in St. Louis since Dec. 29, 1996.
The Blues haven't been dominating anyone this season as they have a Western Conference low 29 points, but they halted a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 home win over Minnesota on Saturday.
Roman Polak scored his first NHL goal and had an assist, and the injury-plagued Blues got 24 saves from Manny Legace as he returned after missing four games with a mild concussion.
"This game is so much about goaltending," said Blues coach Andy Murray, whose team allowed 25 goals during its slide.
Goaltending has also been key for a Bruins team that has surrendered a league-low 74 goals. Manny Fernandez made 32 saves on Saturday, but Julien has been alternating goalies over the last nine games, meaning Tim Thomas should start this contest.
Thomas - 13-3-3 with a 2.15 goals-against average this season - has a 2.43 GAA in losing both career starts versus the Blues.
Phil Kessel, second on the Bruins with 35 points , has 14 goals and 12 assists during a 17-game point streak. That's the longest in team history since Adam Oates' 20-game run in 1997-98.
Kessel has an assist in two career meetings with the Blues.
Former Bruin Brad Boyes, acquired by St. Louis in a February 2007 trade from Dennis Wideman, leads the Blues with 16 goals and 31 points.