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GAME: Minnesota Wild (24-26-20-2) at Boston Bruins (36-16-14-7).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

Having already clinched a playoff spot, the streaking Boston Bruins can turn their attention to the Northeast Division title when they open a five-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild.

Travis Green scored two power-play goals against his former team, leading Boston to a 2-1 victory at Toronto on Tuesday.

The win was the fourth in a row - all by one goal - for the Bruins, who joined Philadelphia and Tampa Bay as Eastern Conference teams that have secured postseason berths. Boston, 5-0-1 in its last six, moved three points ahead of Toronto and Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead while pulling within two points of the Lightning for the top seed in the East.

"It's a big two points," said Green, waived by the Maple Leafs in October. "It's going to be tight until the last game of the season."

Andrew Raycroft - one of the leading candidates for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie - had another strong performance with 22 saves. Raycroft is among the NHL leaders with a 1.97 goals-against average.

With 93 points and nine games remaining, Boston could finish with its highest point total since the 1992-93 team went 51-26-7 for 109 points.

The Bruins have never beaten the Wild, losing all four meetings while being outscored 18-6.

Minnesota has played much better of late, stretching its unbeaten streak to six (3-0-3) with a 5-2 victory over visiting Ottawa on Tuesday.

Marian Gaborik had his best game of the season, recording his sixth career hat trick and adding two assists.

Gaborik, an All-Star last season who led the Wild to the Western Conference finals, has struggled this season after sitting out the first 12 games in a contract dispute.

"It would've been great if Gabby had this type of night early in the season, to give him a lot of confidence and belief that he can do a lot of things on the ice," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Minnesota scored three power-play goals on four opportunities Tuesday after entering the game in a 2-for-47 slump with the man advantage.

"Our power play - I'll be the first to say it's been awful," Wild left wing Andrew Brunette said. "But it seems that in stretches, we get some very good chances and they just don't go in. Tonight, they went in."

Dwayne Roloson, second in the NHL with a 1.88 goals-against average, has allowed five goals during a personal four-game unbeaten streak (1-0-3).

STANDINGS: Wild - 70 points, 5th place, 23 PB, Northwest Division. Bruins - 93 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Brunette, Alexandre Daigle and Gaborik, 14 goals; Brunette, 29 assists and 43 points; Matt Johnson, 161 PIM. Bruins - Glen Murray, 29 goals; Joe Thornton, 47 assists and 68 points; Doug Doull, 122 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 16): Wild - Power play: 12.5 percent (36 for 287), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (212 for 253), 16th. Bruins - Power play: 16.0 percent (41 for 257), 18th. Penalty killing: 83.7 percent (251 for 300), 20th.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Roloson (16-16-11, 4 SO, 1.88 GAA); Manny Fernandez (8-12-9, 1, 2.51). Bruins - Raycroft (25-16-8, 3, 1.97); Felix Potvin (11-7-6, 4, 2.54).

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Wild, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 11, 2002; Wild, 5-1. At St. Paul, Minn., Brunette scored one goal and set up another, and Fernandez stopped 26 shots as Minnesota remained perfect against Boston.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 9-13-13-1 on the road; Bruins - 15-9-8-2 at home.

Associated Press
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