While there’s little doubt the Boston Bruins want to extend their longest winning streak in nearly 16 years, they also want to leave their next game without adding to their injury list.
The Eastern Conference leaders seek their seventh straight victory on Saturday night when they continue a five-game road trip with a matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Off to its best start since 1929-30, Boston (25-5-4) notched a 2-0 victory on Tuesday at New Jersey. It improved the Bruins, who won just 20 road games last season, to 12-4-3 away from TD BankNorth Garden in 2008-09.
“The record on the road is a record we’re really proud of,” coach Claude Julien told the Bruins’ official Web site. “Going into buildings where teams know you are a top team in your conference, they are always ready for you, which makes it even tougher.”
The Bruins haven’t had a seven-game winning streak in one season since closing the 1992-93 campaign with eight straight victories.
Milan Lucic and David Krejci scored against the Devils, but Phil Kessel’s points streak ended at 18 games. Kessel had 14 goals and 14 assists during his run, giving him 21 and 16 this season. With his next point, the right wing will surpass his scoring total from 82 games last season.
Having played just 20 games in 2008-09, Tim Thomas already has three shutouts to match his total from each of the last two seasons. It took Thomas 57 games to record three shutouts last season, and 66 games in 2006-07.
Thomas is 3-6-1 with a 3.22 goals-against average in 10 career starts against the Hurricanes. Manny Fernandez, 11-2-1 with a 2.09 GAA this season, stopped 32 shots last Saturday in Boston’s 4-2 home win over Carolina, but the victory was costly.
Patrice Bergeron left after a hard collision in the second period with the Hurricanes’ Dennis Seidenberg. The 23-year-old Bergeron, who has four goals and 14 assists in 31 games, was released from the hospital on Sunday with another concussion, and placed on injured reserve with no timetable for his return.
Bergeron’s missed almost all of last season after being driven from behind into the boards.
Boston also placed Marco Sturm on long-term injured reserve with a bad knee. A six-time 20-goal scorer, Sturm missed 12 games earlier this season with a concussion.
To try an extend its streak, Boston must try to slow down Eric Staal. He recorded his second hat trick in 17 games and the sixth of his career on Friday in the Hurricanes’ 5-4 win in Atlanta.
With Carolina (17-14-5) trailing 3-2, Staal scored a power-play goal at 7:27 of the third period. After Atlanta again took a one-goal lead, Staal tallied twice in a 76-second span to complete the first three-goal game of his career on the road.
“A hat trick is fun. It’s a little better if you can get it at home,” said Staal, who has scored a team-high 17 this season
Ray Whitney had three assists, giving him two goals and seven assists in a season high-tying five-game points streak. He leads Carolina in 2008-09 with 20 assists and 32 points.
Both players have lengthy point streaks at the RBC Center against Boston. Staal has three goals and eight assists in his last seven meetings with the Bruins there, while Whitney has three goals and four assists in his last six.
Staal didn’t register a point during last week’s loss in Boston, but Whitney scored a goal.