The Boston Bruins have surged back to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
They’ll look to keep that spot Saturday while trying to extend their season-high winning streak to eight and sweep the season series from the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.
Tuukka Rask made 21 saves in his second start in as many nights and Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara scored as Boston (44-17-5) beat Phoenix 2-1 on Thursday to take a one-point lead over Pittsburgh in the East.
While it’s likely to remain a two-team race between the Bruins and Penguins for first place, Boston is simply focused on itself.
"I think we just want to get our game to the place we want to be at in the playoffs, and not worry about looking at the standings," said Rask, who made 35 saves in a 4-1 win at Montreal on Wednesday.
"But it’s better to be on the top than the bottom."
Boston has outscored opponents 28-11 in the last seven games and Rask has a 1.57 goals-against average in five starts during the streak. The Bruins last won eight in a row during a 10-game run Nov. 1-23, 2011.
"It’s not so much the (winning) streak, it’s the consistency," coach Claude Julien said. "The consistency leads to that streak."
Though the Bruins are 2 for 12 on the power play in the last six games, they’ve killed all 16 penalties over the same span.
Iginla has four goals in the last seven contests, and eight with 14 assists in his last 17. Chara has a goal in two straight.
"Guys here – it’s a hungry team, a very competitive team and we want to keep winning and keep getting better," Iginla told the Bruins’ official website. "We don’t want to keep patting ourselves; we just keep moving forward."
The Bruins will try for a third straight win this season and fifth in six games over Carolina (29-28-9), winner of two in a row after losing seven of eight. The Hurricanes, however, are 13th in the East and sixth points out of the final wild-card spot.
"Desperation," forward Eric Staal told the team’s official website. "We know where we’re at, and we need to win."
Alexander Semin had a goal and an assist and Jordan Staal added two assists Thursday as Carolina scored three straight times in the third period for a 4-2 comeback win over Buffalo.
"It took us awhile, but we kept generating, kept going at them and got the result in the end," said Jordan Staal, who has two goals and five assists in four games.
Carolina has allowed three goals in two games after yielding 30 in the previous eight. Cam Ward has a 1.50 GAA in the last two contests but a 3.32 mark in an 0-2-1 stretch against Boston.
Semin has 12 of his 18 goals in his last 19 contests, and three with five assists during a six-game point streak. He had four assists against the Bruins last season but a concussion kept him playing in the first two meetings of 2013-14.
Iginla has six goals and nine assists during a 10-game point streak against Carolina.