Blue Jackets-Bruins Preview

The Boston Bruins are seeking their second four-game win streak
of the season, and the aspects that led to the first one are quite
visible again heading into Thursday night’s game against the
visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.

The reigning Eastern Conference champions strung together four
wins Oct. 17-24, outscoring opponents 15-5 while killing off 8 of 9
penalties. After a 3-0 win Monday over Atlantic Division-leading
Tampa Bay in which Tuukka Rask made 28 saves, Boston (11-5-1) has
amassed a 10-2 scoring advantage in winning its last three and
successfully thwarted all 11 of its opponents’ power-play
chances.

“It’s kind of becoming expected out of him, so it’s a regular
thing,” defenseman Matt Bartkowski told the team’s official
website. “It’s important not to forget about what he does. In my
mind, he’s the best goalie in the league, and he shows that game in
game out.”

Columbus (6-10-1) has seen that game-in, game-out effort from
Rask first-hand, losing four straight to the Bruins when he is
between the pipes. Rask has a 1.14 goals-against average in that
span and had a 26-save effort in the most recent meeting, a 3-1 win
at Columbus on Oct. 12.

The Bruins are 3-0-1 entering the final contest of a five-game
homestand. They have gotten at least one point in five straight
home games (4-0-1), killing off all 18 penalties.

“If we can finish on a good note here, it’ll certainly send us
on the road with some confidence,” coach Claude Julien said. “We
know we have some tough games coming up with back-to-back games in
Carolina and New York (Rangers), so we just have to take advantage
of what’s important for us. If we can win, it’ll be nine of 10
points and a successful homestand.”

Defenseman Adam McQuaid is day to day with a lower-body injury
that kept him out Monday.

The Blue Jackets failed to post consecutive wins for the third
time this season Tuesday when they settled for one point in a 4-3
overtime loss at Washington.

Columbus overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit on goals by Jared
Boll and Cam Atkinson, only to allow Mikhail Grabovski to net the
equalizer with 1:45 left in regulation before Alexander Ovechkin
scored 94 seconds into the extra period.

“We had a lead with three minutes to go in the game and a chance
to get two points against a divisional team,” coach Todd Richards
said. “Right now it’s really a disappointing, deflating feeling
just because of how it ended.”

At issue for Richards is a power play that has failed to
generate a goal in its last three road games, going 0 for 10.
Columbus has allowed 19 goals in dropping five straight on the
road.

Brandon Dubinsky has two goals and five assists in a four-game
point streak for the Blue Jackets, but he has registered just one
assist in his last five versus the Bruins. Atkinson, who shares the
team lead along with Dubinsky and two other players with five
goals, has scored in each of the previous two contests.

Columbus has not beaten Boston since a 3-2 road victory Jan. 21,
2010.