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Bruins-Coyotes Preview

By ALAN FERGUSON

STATS Writer

(AP) -- The Boston Bruins have remained red hot during a brief road trip that will take them nearly all the way across the country.

The Bruins will try to extend their run to 12 games in the finale of that trek Saturday night and deny the Phoenix Coyotes a fourth consecutive victory.

Boston (48-17-5) opened its three-game road trip with a 4-2 win over New Jersey on Tuesday and was even stingier against Colorado three days later. Backup Chad Johnson made 31 saves in a 2-0 victory, and the Bruins moved into a tie with St. Louis for the most points in the league while clinching a seventh consecutive playoff berth.

"We don't really worry about how many we've won or who we're playing in one day or two days," Johnson said. "We just worry about who's next. That's sort of where our mindset is. Just staying in the moment, I think, is the biggest key to our success right now."

The Bruins have given up 15 goals during their 11 consecutive victories, their most since a 13-game run Feb. 23-March 20, 1971. They've allowed eight goals in the last seven games.

Another win Saturday would give Boston the third-longest win streak in franchise history. The Bruins won a franchise-best 14 in a row in 1929-30.

They'll will try to take another step toward matching that record by getting past another streaking club in Phoenix (34-25-11). Boston will also try to register a seventh straight road win and match its second-longest such streak.

The Bruins, 10-0-3 in its past 13 away from home, most recently won seven straight on the road Dec. 12, 2008-Jan. 15, 2009.

They've taken three straight over the Coyotes, including a 2-1 win in Boston on March 13. Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla scored in the opening period and Tuukka Rask kept Phoenix off the scoreboard until 11:46 remaining.

Rask has rested the last two games but might get the chance to face the Coyotes again with Boston playing on back-to-back days. He's allowed a combined five goals in his last five starts.

The Bruins are visiting Arizona for the first time since Rask made 21 saves in a 2-1 overtime win Dec. 28, 2011.

This time, they'll face a team that's won seven of nine and four in a row at home. Phoenix is also seeking its longest win streak since a five-game run Oct. 26-Nov. 5.

Like the Bruins, the Coyotes have been pretty stingy of late, giving up 17 goals in their last nine games. They've outscored their last four visitors 11-5 and held Florida scoreless until 4:07 remaining in a 2-1 victory Thursday.

Mike Smith stopped 22 shots in his 10th consecutive start, and Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette scored in the opening period. Smith has a 1.88 goals-against average in Phoenix's last nine games and has helped the Coyotes remain in the West's final wild-card slot.

The Coyotes are four points ahead of ninth-place Dallas, which hosts Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.

"We know where we are in the standings and that we need every point we can get," said Vrbata, who has five goals and three assists in the last eight games.

Boston native Keith Yandle has a team-best 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in the last 14 games. He has one goal and two assists in six all-time matchups with his hometown club.

Iginla has 13 goals and 14 assists in his last 21 games, and five goals and two assists in his last six against Phoenix.

Updated March 22, 2014

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