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game recap

Bruins help case in playoff hunt with shutout win

Blank Stars to keep pace in Atlantic, wild-card races

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins kept pace in the Atlantic Division race with a 2-0 win against the Dallas Stars at TD Garden on Thursday.

The Bruins (41-30-6), who have won three games in row, trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point for third place and the Ottawa Senators by three points for second. Toronto defeated the Nashville Predators 3-1, and Ottawa lost 5-1 to the Minnesota Wild.

Boston is three points ahead of the fifth-place Tampa Bay Lightning, who defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-3, in the race for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

 

WATCH: All Bruins vs. Stars highlights

 

Tuukka Rask made 27 saves for his seventh shutout of the season, tying his NHL career high, and Brad Marchand set a new NHL career high with his 38th goal.

Rask has 37 shutouts in his NHL career. Marchand scored 37 goals in 77 games last season.

The Bruins have allowed two goals during their winning streak, which followed a four-game slide.

"It was something we needed to do and we need to continue to do," Rask said. "The teams behind us, they're breathing down our necks, for sure. So we have to keep on plugging away and keep winning. That's the only thing we can control. But obviously after a four-game losing streak we needed to change, and so far, so good."

Torey Krug had a power-play goal for Boston, which ended a three-game home losing streak against Dallas.

Antti Niemi made 22 saves for the Stars (31-35-11), who have lost two in a row, in his first start since March 14. The Stars had 58 shot attempts to Boston's 51.

Video: Rask earn Thursday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

"We had some point-blank (shots), actually," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "They had a couple big turnovers that ended up on the right guy's stick. Tyler [Seguin] had a couple great opportunities he missed the net on. We had a couple point-blank in the slot where, again, it comes down to scoring on the road. But I thought they played a good game."

Marchand scored his first goal in six games at 15:14 of the first for a 1-0 lead, and Krug made it 2-0 1:18 into the second period.

 

Goal of the game

Krug made a backdoor cut to the left of the net, and David Pastrnak passed to him from the right boards for a tap-in.

Video: DAL@BOS: Krug buries Pastrnak's nice feed for PPG

 

Save of the game

Rask made a stick save on Jamie Benn's wrist shot from between the circles and the puck went into the stands at 15:31 of the first period.

Video: DAL@BOS: Rask fights off Benn's wrist shot

 

Highlight of the game

Marchand took a cross-crease pass from David Backes, who had retrieved a rebound of his own shot, and beat Niemi through the five-hole with a backhand shot from the right side of the slot. "[Backes] just did a great job getting the initial shot and creating some traffic and getting the puck over. A bit of a lucky bounce," Marchand said.

Video: DAL@BOS: Marchand chips Backes' feed past Niemi

 

Unsung performance of the game

After defenseman Kevan Miller, one of Boston's best penalty-killers, received a double minor for high-sticking Stars forward Curtis McKenzie with 8:52 remaining, the Bruins killed off the penalty to preserve the shutout.

 

They said it

"Yeah, you know, a couple mistakes, we had a chance to score. Tuukka [Rask] played great once again." -- Stars goaltender Antti Niemi

"We made it harder on ourselves certainly with our puck management, but we really have to give credit to our defensive effort in terms of our willingness to keep the puck out of the net, penalty kill came up huge in the third at a crucial time. So those things win hockey games when you don't have your 'A' game, so to speak, offensively. And you saw that tonight." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy

 

Need to know

McKenzie went to the hospital after he was high-sticked by Miller. "It looks like his eye is OK, but he's got a pretty serious cut that's going to have to be closed up," Ruff said. ... Stars forward Ales Hemsky played one shift in the third period because of an undisclosed injury. ... Dallas forward Tyler Seguin, who was selected by Boston in the first round (No. 2) in the 2010 NHL Draft, played his 300th game for the Stars. ... Bruins center David Krejci played his 700th NHL game, and forward Jimmy Hayes played his 300th NHL game.

 

What's next

Stars: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

Bruins: Host the Florida Panthers on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN, NESN, FS-F, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Marchand, Krug lead Bruins to 2-0 victory

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