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Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien thought this week would provide a needed challenge for his club. One game in, though, and it's more of the same.
The Bruins will go for their fifth straight victory Tuesday night when they visit Evander Kane and the Winnipeg Jets.
After a near-perfect November, Boston doesn't appear ready to cool off. On Monday, the Bruins (17-7-1) improved to 14-0-1 since they opened last month with an Eastern Conference-worst six points, defeating first-place Pittsburgh 3-1.
Boston has outscored opponents 64-26 in its last 15 games to move within a point of the Penguins for the conference lead. Gregory Campbell, Benoit Pouliot and Tyler Seguin each scored Monday.
Tim Thomas recorded 45 saves, holding Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scoreless as he won his 10th straight start. Boston's point streak is the team's longest since the club went 17 games without a loss in 1983.
"You hope it's a habit more than it's a streak, so we're trying to build those good habits and there's no reason why you can't give your best every night," Julien said. "So, I think our guys have gotten really good at that and so far it's been great; it's gotten us back to where we wanted to be and certainly kind of erases the tough start that we had."
This will be only the second time this season that the Bruins are playing on back-to-back days. They fell 3-2 in a shootout to Detroit on Nov. 25, then bounced back with a 4-2 win over Winnipeg the next night. However, both of those games were at home, and the first one was a matinee.
Boston's tough week continues Thursday when it returns home to face Southeast Division-leading Florida.
With the Bruins playing consecutive nights on the road, Tuukka Rask could be back in net Tuesday after he recorded 21 saves Saturday in a 4-1 win over Toronto. Rask was in net for the Bruins' last loss, but he's 4-1-0 with a 1.77 goals-against average against the Jets franchise.
After Boston was able to slow down Pittsburgh's potent attack, the Bruins won't want to let up against Winnipeg and the streaking Kane.
The Jets (11-11-4) are looking to win their third straight and move above .500 for the first time this season. On Saturday, they scored twice in the third period en route to a 4-2 win over New Jersey.
Kane scored in the first period and had an empty-netter in the third. It was his second multi-goal effort in three games, extending a point streak to five contests. He has six goals during that stretch, giving him 14 this season - five shy of his career high.
"You can see that (Kane is) playing with confidence," coach Claude Noel said. "His speed seems to be wearing off on his linemates, as well, because it looks like (Bryan) Little's got a little bit more of a step, it looks like (Blake) Wheeler's got a step as well."
Little has five points in his last three games while Wheeler - the former Bruin - has a four-game point streak.
Kane, who has four goals and an assist in his last six games against the Bruins, is a big reason why Winnipeg is 6-2-1 in its last nine. The Jets have been most dangerous at home, scoring 24 goals while winning five of six at the MTS Centre, where they're playing 12 of their 14 December games.
The Bruins haven't played in Winnipeg since facing the current Phoenix franchise there Dec. 31, 1995. Boston won 12 of its last 14 against the Atlanta Thrashers prior to beating the Jets at home last month.