Bruins try to extend series win streak over Rangers

( - Tuukka Rask's outstanding January for the Boston Bruins included a shutout victory over the New York Rangers.

Rask may get a chance to kick off February in similar fashion as the Bruins try to defeat the Rangers for a fifth straight time on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Bruins are 9-1-4 over their past 14 games, with Rask going 7-1-3 in January with a 1.61 goals against average and .949 save percentage. On Monday he was named the NHL's Third Star of the month for a span that included a 3-0 home win over the Rangers on Jan. 15.

Rask made 30 saves, improving to 7-3-3 in his career versus the Rangers with a 1.91 GAA and .937 save percentage. He also shut them out for the second time while getting supported on goals by Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Loui Eriksson.

That was the first of three meetings between Boston and New York this season, with the Bruins having won four straight in the series. They have won three of their past four in New York as well.

Rask capped January with an eighth straight start on Saturday, making 30 saves in a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Brad Marchand scored twice and Chris Kelly had the game-winning goal as Boston won its second straight.

"I think we battled for every inch of the ice we had to get tonight and we had to earn it," Boston head coach Claude Julien said. "It was nice to see our team compete for that whole 60 minutes and stay on top of their game."

Eriksson left the game in the third period after taking a hit from Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr along the boards, but did not suffer a concussion and is probable for this game. However, forward Milan Lucic is questionable due to the flu.

Boston's surge has moved the club into the second of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference, one point back of the Washington Capitals and seven points clear of the Florida Panthers.

New York, meanwhile, is even with Washington for third place in the Metropolitan Division, but holds the current tiebreaker with three fewer games played. The Rangers picked up their second straight victory and fifth in seven games with a 6-3 decision over Florida on Monday.

Rick Nash scored twice for the Rangers, hitting the 30-goal mark for the eighth time in 12 seasons. His 31 tallies are tied with the Caps' Alex Ovechkin for the most in the NHL.

"It's a nice accomplishment. It just shows how good my linemates are and how good the team is doing. Personal success always comes after team success," noted Nash of reaching 30 goals.

Henrik Lundqvist came up with 33 saves, while Kevin Hayes, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle and Mats Zuccarello also lit the lamp for the Rangers.

New York concludes a four-game homestand tonight having won 11 of its last 14 as the host.

Backup Cam Talbot allowed three goals on 32 shots in the shutout loss to the Bruins earlier this season and figures to start tonight as Lundqvist is unavailable due to an upper-body injury.

Goaltender Mackenzie Skapski was recalled from the minors with Lundqvist ailing.