The Boston Bruins are rolling, and Jarome Iginla is a big reason why.
Iginla looks to help the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins to a 10th straight win Tuesday night when they visit the New Jersey Devils.
Boston (46-17-5) has a five-point lead on Pittsburgh atop the East, and is four points behind St. Louis in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
The Bruins have overtaken the Penguins thanks to a nine-game winning streak, during which they’re averaging 4.11 goals.
Iginla has eight goals and three assists during that run, scoring five times in the past three contests. He had two goals for the second straight game Monday, leading Boston to a 4-1 victory over Minnesota.
The Bruins haven’t won 10 in a row since November 2011, when they put together a 14-0-1 streak.
Iginla leads the team with 25 goals after signing with Boston during the offseason to replace departed free agent Nathan Horton on the top line.
"We lose a guy that we thought would be back for us, in Horton. That was a big hole to fill," coach Claude Julien said. "He’s come in and filled that hole really well. You mention the stats, he brings us the same thing the other guy did with his size and scoring ability. He’s done a great job.
"We’re talking about a veteran here with tremendous leadership qualities. He’s certainly been a great asset to our team."
Iginla scored one goal and assisted on two others before the Bruins surrendered three straight goals to New Jersey (29-26-13) in a 4-3 home loss Oct. 26.
A change of venue may suit Boston since it’s won three straight and five of six on the road against the Devils.
Julien could come back with Tuukka Rask in the second of this back-to-back or start Chad Johnson. Rask, who made 33 saves Monday, is 6-0-0 with a 1.48 goals-against average during the win streak, while Johnson is 8-0-1 with a 2.00 GAA over his last nine starts.
"Our goaltending has been outstanding all year without question," Iginla said
Rask had a career-high seven-game winning streak Dec. 10, 2011-Jan. 16, 2012.
The same can’t be said of the Devils, who are expected to opt for Martin Brodeur in net over Cory Schneider, as they attempt to cut into the five-point gap on the New York Rangers for the East’s eighth and final playoff spot.
"We all know what’s at stake," coach Peter DeBoer said.
Schneider seemed to wrest the starting job from the future Hall of Famer earlier this season, but he’s back on the bench with a 5.08 GAA during a three-game losing streak.
Brodeur had his personal four-game winning streak halted in a 3-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Saturday.
"It’s all about winning," Brodeur said. "It doesn’t matter if I feel good in there. We didn’t get the win. On a personal note, I was seeing the puck pretty good."
He was 0-7-2 with a 3.32 GAA in his past nine starts against the Bruins before making 25 stops in the October win.
Jaromir Jagr, who had two assists in that meeting, had a five-game point streak snapped Saturday.