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Bruins put eight-game win streak on line vs. Wild

by Jon Lane

WILD (35-22-10) at BRUINS (45-17-5)


Last 10: Minnesota 6-1-3; Boston 8-1-1

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins. The teams haven't faced each other since Feb. 19, 2012, when Niklas Backstrom stopped all 48 shots to lead Minnesota to a 2-0 win at Xcel Energy Center.

Big story: The Bruins are on an eight-game winning streak, their longest since a 10-game run in November 2011. They lead the Eastern Conference with 95 points and are 11-1-2 in their past 14 games, 16-2-3 in their past 21 and 9-2-0 in their past 11 at TD Garden.

If there's any team ripe to halt the Bruins' surge it's the Wild, who begin a three-game road trip with a 15-5-5 record in 2014. Minnesota is 6-0-0 all-time in Boston and 10-1-0 against the Bruins since entering the NHL in 2000-01.

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota went 1-0-3 on its recent four-game homestand to solidify its hold on a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. Although the Wild had points in all four of those games, the belief in the locker room was that an opportunity to gain more ground had slipped away.

"It's weird," forward Zach Parise said after Minnesota lost 2-1 in a shootout Saturday to the Columbus Blue Jackets. "I mean, yeah, we did lose three. But those are big points for us at the same time. But unfortunately it's still a loss and you still have that losing feeling. It's too bad because we played pretty decent in a few of the games we lost."

Bruins: The question in Boston's dressing room following a 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday is whether the Bruins are peaking too soon. During their winning streak, the Bruins have outscored opponents 32-12 with 14 different players scoring a goal -- all this during a March schedule that features 17 games in 31 days.

"We [don't] talk about the streak. We just talk about game by game, and it just seems to give us a better feeling and a better focus," coach Claude Julien said. "So that's the way you don't get content or comfortable and you keep plugging away."

Who's hot: Parise has a four-game point streak and at least one point in 11 of his past 13 games (8-9-17). Wild right wing Jason Pominville has three goals and five assists in his past five games. Center Mikael Granlund has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past eight games. The Parise-Granlund-Pominville line has 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) since forming Jan. 30 … Bruins forward Jarome Iginla has four goals and five points in his past four games. Forward Milan Lucic has two goals and four assists in a four-game point streak. Center David Krejci has 23 points in his past 21 games. Backup goalie Chad Johnson is 8-0-1 in his past nine starts.

Injury report: Wild forward Jason Zucker (leg surgery), and goalies Backstrom and Josh Harding (illness) are on injured reserve … Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (leg) will not play. Defensemen Adam McQuaid (strained quadriceps) and Dennis Seidenberg (right knee surgery) are on IR.


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