Bruins win ninth straight
BOSTON — The Boston Bruins won their ninth straight game and beat the Minnesota Wild for the first time at TD Garden, winning 4-1 on Monday night.
The victory moved the Bruins five points ahead of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Eastern Conference and also brought Boston into a three-way tie for No. 2 in the overall league standings.
The Bruins are in a three-way tie with the idle Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks — all three trailing the St. Louis Blues by two points, pending the outcome of the Blues’ game in Winnipeg.
Red-hot right winger Jarome Iginla scored twice, the second into an empty net, and fellow right wingers Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith also scored for the Bruins. Iginla had his team-leading 24th and 25th of the season, his fourth and fifth in the last three games, Eriksson delivered his eighth of the year and Smith his 19th, but first in 16 games.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask, winning his sixth straight, made 33 saves, yielding only a goal to right winger Jason Pominville, his 26th, late in the second period. Sixteen of Rask’s 33 saves came in the third period.
The Bruins, 12-1-2 in their last 15 and 17-2-3 in their last 22, have outscored their nine victims 36-13 and have allowed one goal in each of the last four games.
Rask has given up nine goals during his personal winning streak. His best save of the night came off fellow Finn and center Mikko Koivu, who clearly said something to his countryman after the save.
The winning streak is the longest for the Bruins since a 10-gamer Nov. 1-23, 2011.
The Wild came in 6-0 lifetime in Boston and 10-1-1 against the Bruins overall.Minnesota rookie Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves and was a victim of a weird deflected shot on the Iginla goal.
Iginla, who also has six goals in five games, has 25 points, including 11 goals, in the last 19 games. He had the only points for his sizzling line — center David Krejci and left winger Milan Lucic failed to get a point — and the line has 49 points in the last 15 games.
Defenseman Zdeno Chara had two assists for Boston.
The Wild had the better of play in the first period, with Rask making his first big save some 10 seconds in. But it was the Bruins who wound up ahead 2-0 with two second-period goals.
Iginla rushed through all four zones and took a shot that hit the stick of defenseman Jonas Brodin and became a blooper that went right between Kuemper’s legs 3:53 into the second period. Later, center Carl Soderberg picked up a loose puck in the Minnesota zone and circled the net before finding Eriksson with a nifty backhand pass through traffic.
Eriksson scored at 11:55 but the Wild struck late in the period to stay in the game. Defenseman Ryan Suter hit Pomenville with a long pass and his slapper, with defenseman Andrej Meszaros in front of him, shattered his own stick and beat Rask at 18:34. When Pomenville raised his stick it didn’t have a blade.
Notes: Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who suffered a lower-body injury late in Saturday’s game, was out and is day-to-day. ... Wild right wing Justin Fontaine returned to the lineup after five games as a healthy scratch. ... Bruins D/captain Zdeno Chara turns 37 on Tuesday. ... The Wild visit the New York Islanders on Tuesday night, the second stop on a three-game trip, while the Bruins, 8-0-3 in their last 11 road games, are at New Jersey to start a three-game road trip. ... The Wild and Bruins meet again April 8 in St. Paul. ... Bruins RW Jarome Iginla played in his 1,300th NHL game, the fifth active player to reach that mark, the 55th all time. ... In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Bruins wore green jerseys in warmups. ... Wild C Charlie Coyle, a local product who played at Boston University, had an estimated 1,000-2,000 people at the game watching him. He almost scored about 10 seconds into the game.