Bruins-Jets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 17, 2012
The Boston Bruins may be atop the Northeast Division, but they haven't won back-to-back games in over a month. Rich Peverley being injured isn't likely to help, but facing the Winnipeg Jets might. The Bruins look to withstand Peverley's absence Friday night when they attempt to continue their dominance of the Jets franchise. Boston (35-18-2) leads the Northeast by four points over second-place Ottawa. The Bruins have struggled to pull away due to a 7-7-1 stretch since winning consecutive games Jan. 10 and 12. That inconsistency nearly cost them in the opener of a six-game road trip Wednesday. They squandered a two-goal, third-period lead before Tyler Seguin scored in the shootout to secure a 4-3 win at Montreal. "We had a great first two periods, we didn't have a bad third period, but obviously we did some little things that we should've done," left wing Daniel Paille told the team's official website. "But it (was) a good sign for us and our consistency, and we need to start winning a couple of games - going back-and-forth isn't going to help us." The Bruins' search for consistency will have to be done without Peverley, who hurt his knee in a collision with Montreal's Hal Gill and returned to Boston for further evaluation. The center has 38 points, getting three in three season meetings with the Jets (27-26-6). Boston is 14-2-1 in its last 17 meetings with the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, beating the Jets 5-3 on Jan. 10 behind three unanswered goals in the third period. The Bruins weren't as fortunate at MTS Centre on Dec. 6, losing 2-1. Seguin missed that game with the flu, but he found the net in the victory at Boston last month. The second-year center is tied with Milan Lucic for the team lead with 20 goals, while his 45 points rank second. Seguin, however, is goalless in four games and has just one in his last eight. The Jets are opening a season-high eight-game homestand, and they're 16-9-2 at MTS Centre. They're also trying to build on the momentum created from Thursday's 4-3 shootout win at Minnesota. "That extra point was huge," left wing Evander Kane said. "This gives us a lot of energy moving forward." Kane is looking to build on his own impressive performance, scoring two goals and assisting on another against the Wild before netting the shootout winner. He had just one goal and two assists and a minus-8 rating over the previous 14 contests. Still, he's the Jets' leader with a career-high 21 goals. Kane has four goals and one assist in his last eight meetings with the Bruins, but hasn't managed a point in the past two. Ondrej Pavelec will likely be back in net after backup Chris Mason made 22 saves through regulation and three more in the shootout Thursday. Pavelec has lost his last two starts while surrendering 10 goals on 63 shots. He owns a 3.50 goals-against average while going 3-5-1 in 11 meetings with the Bruins, getting pulled three times. Pavelec, though, was outstanding while making 39 saves in the last matchup in Winnipeg.
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