BRUINS (28-12-2) at DUCKS (31-8-5)
TV: NESN, PRIME
Last 10: Boston 6-4-0; Anaheim 9-1-0
Season series: Anaheim and Boston conclude a two-game season series tonight at Honda Center. In the series opener, the Ducks lost a 3-2 shootout decision to the Bruins on Oct. 31 at TD Garden. Anaheim is 10-9-6 vs. Boston all-time, including a 4-4-4 mark in Orange County.
Big story: The NHL-leading Ducks conclude a four-game homestand vs. Boston tonight at Honda Center (7 p.m. PST, PRIME TICKET/AM 830). With a 31-8-5 record for 67 points, Anaheim is in the midst of its best start to a season through 44 games, besting the previous mark of 29-9-6 for 64 points in 2006-07. The Ducks have won 13 of their last 14 games (13-1-0) for the first time in club history and joined Pittsburgh as the first two teams to reach 30 wins this season. Anaheim, which has points in 16 of the last 17 games (14-1-2), is 11-1-2 vs. the Pacific Division and a league-leading 17-3-2 (.818 points %) vs. the Western Conference. Following tonight's game, the Ducks will embark on a two-game road trip that makes stops in Nashville on Jan. 9 and Phoenix on Jan. 11.
Ducks: It may have been Anaheim's closest call to date. On Sunday, the Vancouver Canucks held a 3-2 lead into the final two minutes of regulation at Honda Center, threatening to end Anaheim's golden run. It was not to be. Nick Bonino wristed one home with 1:27 remaining, and Corey Perry added the exclamation point with an overtime winner with 1.3 seconds left in overtime.
"When you have a belief you can win," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, "you're never out of the game."
Anaheim outshot Vancouver 40-7 over the final 40 minutes.
"It does get a little frustrating, but we have confidence in this building and with our team," Bonino said. "Lack played a hell of a game. Once I didn't get that overtime breakaway, I wasn't sure if I'd get another one, but we never gave up. With [1.3] seconds left, Corey finds a way to worm it in."
Bruins: The Bruins know they are in for a tough road stretch with Anaheim, the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on the horizon. Following a 4-1 win at home against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, "six" reverberated throughout the locker room. That's the combined number of home losses for those three Western Conference powers.
"Well it's going to be a challenge, I've said it all along," coach Claude Julien said. "The players know about it. We might as well mention the fact that they have a combined six regulation losses between those three teams so it goes to show you how hard it is to go there and win some hockey games.
"It's a challenge that I and the rest of the team are really looking forward to, because that's the kind of challenge we need right now."
The Bruins are 2-0 in 2014, with consecutive home wins over the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg. Loui Eriksson, out since Dec. 7 with a concussion, will travel with the Bruins.
Who's hot: The line of Saku Koivu, Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik have combined for 17 points (8g/9a) with a +19 rating over the last six games. Koivu has recorded eight points (4g/4a) in his last six games and 10 points (5g/5a) in his last nine. Koivu scored both his 10th career overtime goal and 11th career shorthanded goal Dec. 28 vs. Phoenix. It marked his 26th career multi-goal game and first since Jan. 10, 2012 vs. Dallas (3g). Cogliano has goals in four of his last six games (4g/2a) and nine points (4g/5a) in his last nine. In addition, Winnik has earned five assists in his last eight contests. Currently ranked fifth among NHL goaltenders in wins, Jonas Hiller owns a club-record 11 straight victories (11-0-0) to become the first NHL goaltender to win 11 consecutive starts since PHX's Mike Smith won 11 from Feb. 4-28, 2012. Hiller was named the NHL's Third Star of December after finishing the month leading the league in wins (9-0-1), while also posting a 1.96 GAA and .929 SV% in 10 games. Bonino has two goals and three assists over Anaheim's current three-game winning streak. ... Torey Krug leads Bruins defensemen in points (23) and had two goals and an assist in the win Saturday against Winnipeg.
Injury report: For Anaheim, defensemen Luca Sbisa (hand), Sheldon Souray (wrist) and goalie Viktor Fasth (lower body) are on injured reserve. ... In addition to Eriksson, Bruins right wing Jordan Caron (back) is questionable. Centers Chris Kelly (ankle) and Marc Savard (concussion) are on injured reserve. Left wing Shawn Thornton (suspension) will be eligible Jan. 11, and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (knee) is out for the season.
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