|Date of game: 3/15/2014
Carolina Hurricanes (29-28-9) at Boston Bruins (44-17-5), 1 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will try to record eight straight wins for the first time in over two years when the Eastern Conference leaders welcome the Carolina Hurricanes for Saturday's clash at TD Garden.
The Bruins picked up a 2-1 home win over Phoenix on Thursday, giving Boston its first seven-game winning streak since Dec. 10-28, 2011. The last time Boston won eight in a row was earlier that season when it posted 10 consecutive victories from Nov. 1-23.
Boston gave head coach Claude Julien his 300th win with the Bruins with the close win over the Coyotes. Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla notched first-period goals for the B's and Tuukka Rask made the lead stand up with a 21-save victory.
Julien, meanwhile, saw his record in six-plus seasons with Boston improve to 300-161-61. Only the legendary Art Ross has more wins (361) for the franchise.
"It's not so much the streak, but it's the consistency which has marked each game which is impressive," Julien said. "I'm proud to have accomplished this (milestone) in Boston. I'm really looking forward to another 300."
Boston kicked off a three-game homestand on Thursday and pushed its impressive record in Beantown this season to 26-7-2. The club will cap the residency Monday evening against Minnesota.
The Bruins are 13 points ahead of second-place Toronto for first place in the Atlantic Division and they also enter Saturday one point in front of Pittsburgh for the conference lead.
Carolina hopes to slow down the Bruins on Saturday afternoon when they take aim at a third consecutive victory. The 'Canes, however, are 0-1-1 against Boston this season and have lost four of the past five encounters in this series.
The Hurricanes, who are six points out of a playoff spot in the East, are coming off wins over the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. Both of those wins came on home ice, where Kirk Muller's club is 17-13-5 this season.
Carolina hopes to stay hot on the road on Saturday. The 'Canes are 12-15-4 as the guest in 2013-14 and are playing four of their next five away from Raleigh.
Boston has won two in a row and seven of the last 10 meetings with Carolina at TD Garden.
Jiri Tlusty scored the winning goal with 6:17 to play to lift the Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over the visiting Sabres on Thursday.
Alexander Semin posted a goal and an assist while Jeff Skinner also lit the lamp for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward stopped 21 shots in the win.
"It's not easy for goalies when you don't get a lot of shots," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "Cam has a history of doing really well when he gets a lot of shots in a game. He made the saves when we needed them."
With the Hurricanes set to play today in Boston before hosting Edmonton on Sunday, Anton Khudobin could get the start on Saturday.
Khudobin spent time with the Bruins from 2011-2013 before signing a one-year deal with Carolina last summer. The 27-year-old appeared in 15 games for Boston, recording a 10-4-1 record along the way. Khudobin has never faced his former team.
If Khudobin starts on Saturday, Ward will likely get the call in Sunday's tilt with the Oilers.
Boston forward Daniel Paille could return from a two-game absence on Saturday. He has been suffering from a mild concussion sustained Sunday against the Florida Panthers.
'Canes defenseman Justin Faulk has missed the last five games with an upper- body issue and is questionable for Saturday. Fellow blueliner John-Michael Liles expects to sit out a fourth straight game for Carolina with a concussion.