Jets-Bruins Preview

The Associated Press

The Boston Bruins have been nearly unbeatable at home over the past two months.

Their success there against the Winnipeg Jets extends back much further.

After avoiding their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Bruins will try to make it 12 consecutive home wins against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise Saturday.

Unable to protect a two-goal lead, the Bruins had their eight-game home win streak snapped with a 5-3 loss to the last-place New York Islanders on New Year's Eve. But they rebounded with a 3-2 overtime victory against Nashville on Thursday, improving to 14-1-2 at TD Garden since Oct. 31.

Brad Marchand scored the game-winner after Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla tallied in the third period. Marchand's goal was his fifth in seven games, while Iginla's was his fifth in five contests.

The Atlantic Division-leading Bruins (27-12-2) are the only Eastern Conference team yet to lose three straight this season.

"You know I don't think we dwelled on it too much," coach Claude Julien told the team's official website. "You know it's like a two-game losing streak, but we were more focused on winning this one. And whether you win it in regulation or overtime, I think it's the win itself that matters."

A matchup with Winnipeg in Boston seems a favorable one for Julien's team, which has allowed 1.6 goals per game during the 14-1-2 run.

The Bruins have won 11 straight at home against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise since a 3-2 loss on March 31, 2007. The Jets, though, took the most recent meeting, 3-1 on March 19 behind two goals from former Bruin Blake Wheeler.

Tuukka Rask got Thursday off as Niklas Svedberg made 33 saves to win his NHL debut. Rask, who had surrendered six goals in his previous five starts before yielding five to the Islanders, is 4-0-0 with a 1.47 goals-against average and one shutout at home against the Jets.

This will be the second stop on a three-game trip for Winnipeg (19-19-5), which had a three-game win streak stopped with Thursday's 4-3 loss to Ottawa. Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and an assist for the Jets, who had outscored opponents 11-5 during their first three-game streak since a season-high four-game run Nov. 8-15.

''I thought in the first period we played sideways in our zone, but I thought in the second we were much better and played with more speed,'' coach Claude Noel said.

''In the third we had good chances to win and I thought we played a fairly decent game although it wasn't one of our better ones.''

Al Montoya stopped 25 of 29 shots in his third consecutive start in place of struggling Ondrej Pavelec. Montoya had been 6-0-0 with a 1.27 GAA over his previous seven games, while Pavelec is 1-6-1 with a 4.10 GAA in his past nine starts.

Noel wasn't ready to name a starter for Saturday.

"Goaltender will be a game-time decision," he told the team's official website. "It's a secret, you guys have to do like you normally do, be the CIA, put your hat on and try to figure it out."

Winnipeg has lost five of eight on the road, going 3 for 16 on the power play. The Jets are 1 for 28 with the man advantage their last eight visits to Boston.

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