BOSTON -- As the regular season winds down and the playoffs approach, the Bruins continue to peak.
The Bruins started slowly Monday night but just kept improving as the game progressed to take a solid 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild that extended their lead in the Eastern Conference to five points over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jarome Iginla (two), Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith (one each) scored the goals for the Black and Gold, which shook off some defensive zone miscues that threatened to hijack the game at the end of the second period.
After a scoreless first period where Minnesota probably got the better of the play, Iginla scored on a fluke, wobbling shot that changed direction after Jonas Brodin got his stick on it. The puck went through the five-hole of Darcy Kuemper, and the Bruins were off and running. Soon afterwards, Carl Soderberg made a nifty spin around the back of the net and delivered a no-look pass to a wide-open Eriksson on the backdoor to make it 2-0.
It appeared the Bruins had seized control of the game, but a defensive breakdown on an offensive zone face-off gave Minnesota some life. Matt Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros allowed Jason Pominville to streak behind them, and score on a shot that snapped his stick as it beat Tuukka Rask.
That shook the Bruins at the end of the second period, but a Smith score in the third period iced it for the Black and Gold. His score snapped a 15-game goal-scoring drought, and paved the way for yet another win for a Boston team gathering momentum in the final quarter of the season.
Iginla added an empty net goal for his second straight two-goal game and a team-leading 25 goals on the season.