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Bruins-Hurricanes Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Boston Bruins (24-24-10) at Carolina Hurricanes (39-14-4).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

After helping the unheralded Swiss team into the medal round at the Olympics, goaltender Martin Gerber will now switch his focus to leading the Carolina Hurricanes to the NHL's best record.

Gerber and the Eastern Conference-leading Hurricanes play their first game following the Olympic break when they host the Boston Bruins.

Gerber had a 49-save performance in a 2-0 win over defending gold-medal winner Canada on Feb. 18 for Switzerland, which wasn't expected to reach the medal round with only three NHL players on its roster.

The Swiss, though, finished round-robin play with a 2-1-2 record before falling 6-2 to eventual gold-medal winner Sweden on Feb. 22.

Gerber will look to pick up where he left off with Carolina after winning 11 of his last 13 starts. In his final game before the break, Gerber made 17 saves and Eric Staal scored the deciding goal in the Hurricanes' 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo.

Carolina improved to 6-1 in the new tiebreaker, and snapped the team's first losing streak since late December.

"You never want to lose three games in a row, let alone going into a break," Staal said. "Go into the break and rejuvenate and come back and be ready to go."

Staal has 75 points - including 36 goals - and has a chance to set the franchise record for points.

"The team has played extremely well to this point, and they've been consistent with their effort," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think that's been the most impressive thing."

While Carolina is in a race for the league's best record, Boston is trying to stay in the playoff hunt in the East. The Bruins resume play in a tie with Atlanta for 10th place in the conference, and are just a few points behind the eighth and final playoff spot.

Boston lost four of five before the break, including a 6-5 defeat to Tampa Bay on Feb. 11 that ended its 21-game unbeaten streak against the Lightning dating to 1994.

The Bruins blew leads of 3-1, 4-3 and 5-4, and committed six of their nine minor penalties in the third period.

"I'm not sure how to assess this game, but we missed an opportunity," Boston coach Mike Sullivan said. "I didn't understand the nature of some of the penalties."

Brad Boyes had three assists and has recorded a point in 12 of his last 13 games for Boston, which fell to 9-2-2 against Southeast Division teams this season.

STANDINGS: Bruins - 58 points, 5th place, 21 PB, Northeast Division. Hurricanes - 82 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Marco Sturm, 20 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 31 assists and 50 points; Hal Gill, 84 PIM. Hurricanes - Staal, 36 goals and 75 points; Staal and Cory Stillman, 39 assists; Mike Commodore, 90 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins - Power play: 15.6 percent (48 for 308), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (290 for 343), 8th. Hurricanes - Power play: 19.2 percent (73 for 381), 7th. Penalty killing: 81.7 percent (255 for 312), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Tim Thomas (8-3-4, 1 SO, 2.17 GAA); Andrew Raycroft (7-16-2, 3.66). Hurricanes - Gerber (28-9-2, 3, 2.73); Cam Ward (11-5-2, 3.44).

SEASON SERIES: Hurricanes, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 5; Hurricanes 4-3, SO. At Boston, Gerber made 24 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping Bergeron, Glen Murray and Sergei Samsonov in the shootout.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 13-13-4 on the road; Hurricanes - 24-5-1 at home.

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