Bruins eye longest win streak since 1971 in clash with Avs

( - The Boston Bruins will try to record their longest winning streak in over four decades when they take aim at an 11th straight victory in Friday's road test against the Colorado Avalanche.

Boston is the hottest team in the NHL at the moment and earned its 10th consecutive win Tuesday night in New Jersey. The Bruins have won 10 in a row for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign and the club's last 11-game winning streak came during a 13-game tear from Feb. 23-March 20, 1971.

"I just think our guys have been playing hard throughout the whole lineup," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday's win over the Devils.

The hot streak has helped Boston open a nearly insurmountable lead atop the Atlantic Division standings. The Bruins are 14 points ahead of second-place Tampa Bay in the division and also are four points in front of Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference lead.

Brad Marchand and Jarome Iginla scored 59 seconds apart early in the second stanza to help boost the Bruins record a 4-2 decision in New Jersey.

Devils forward Patrik Elias evened the game at 1-1 with his 5-on-3 power-play goal 29 seconds into the second period, but Marchand answered with a short- handed tally 54 seconds later before Iginla followed with his 26th of the season at the 2:22 mark to provide the visitors with a two-goal edge.

Iginla has scored a goal in four straight games and has notched seven markers over his past six contests.

Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly also lit the lamp for the Bruins, while Chad Johnson backstopped the victory with 22 saves.

It was the fifth straight road win for Boston, which carries a 19-10-3 record as the guest into tonight's game. The Bruins are playing the middle test of a three-game road trip on Friday and will cap the swing tomorrow night in Phoenix.

Bruins No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask expects to be back in net on Friday. He is 0-3-0 in his career against Colorado despite sporting a strong 2.03 goals against average and .931 save percentage in this matchup.

Rask took a tough-luck loss when the Avalanche visited Boston back on Oct. 10, stopping 28-of-29 shots in a 2-0 setback. That marked the second straight shutout win in the series for Colorado, which also recorded a 1-0 win at Boston on Oct. 2011.

The Avs have won three of four and five of the last seven meetings in this series overall, but Boston has claimed two in a row and four of the past five encounters in Denver.

Colorado is back at the Pepsi Center tonight after dropping the final two tests of a three-game road trip. The Avs opened the swing on Sunday with a win over Ottawa before losing at Montreal and Winnipeg.

The Avs, who are one point behind Chicago for second place in the Central Division, lost 6-3 to the Canadiens on Tuesday before picking up a point the following night against the Jets.

Colorado recovered from deficits of 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 to send the game into overtime, but Blake Wheeler scored 1:42 into the extra session to lift Winnipeg to the 5-4 victory at MTS Centre.

Wheeler carried the puck from the left wing into the right circle, waiting until a mass of bodies crowded the crease before firing a shot past Colorado goaltender Reto Berra.

Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Nick Holden and Cody McLeod lit the lamp for the Avalanche. Berra, the third goaltender on Colorado's roster, turned aside 22-of-27 shots in his first game with the Avalanche since they acquired him from the Calgary Flames.

"I think we did a good job of staying in this game, and coming back multiple times ... Certainly, it's a big point for us, and we'll take that," Landeskog said.

Colorado is 23-10-3 as the host this season and will play three of its next four games in the Mile High City.

Avs forward John Mitchell is questionable for Friday's game after suffering a back injury in the loss against the Jets. Fellow forward Paul Stastny, however, expects to play tonight after sitting out the game in Winnipeg. Stastny returned from a four-game absence due to his own back issues to play Tuesday against Montreal, but was held out of Wednesday's game for precautionary reasons.

Meanwhile, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk is questionable for tonight after sitting out the last two games with an ankle injury. Boychuk practiced with team on Thursday for the first time since suffering the injury in Saturday's game against Carolina.

Semyon Varlamov expects to get the start in net for Colorado. He is 1-1-1 with a 2.10 GAA and .931 save percentage in four career appearances against Boston.