Preview: Bruins at Blues

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[April 01, 2016]  The Central Division has pretty much turned into a two-team race between the Dallas Stars and streaking St. Louis Blues, who will go for their sixth consecutive victory when they host the skidding Boston Bruins on Friday night. The red-hot Blues are two points behind the Stars for first place in the division with one game in hand and five left to play.

St. Louis finally had its franchise-record four-game shutout streak snapped but it has allowed only one goal over the past five contests. The Blues have won 11 of 13 overall, a span that started with a six-game winning streak from Feb. 28-March 12. The Bruins are staggering down the stretch, having lost six of their last seven, and are clinging to a one-point edge over Detroit for third place in the Atlantic Division. "We know we have to win hockey games, so just go out and do it," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Itís as simple as that."

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

ABOUT THE BRUINS (40-29-8): Boston has scored 10 goals during its 1-6-0 slide, punctuated by a 2-1 loss at New Jersey on Tuesday despite pouring 40 shots on goal. "You want to find ways to win and get at it," Bruins leading scorer Patrice Bergeron said. "You don't want to start banging on your heads and kind of get frustrated. It's about getting results and putting your chin up and going out there and finding a way." Defenseman John-Michael Liles and center Ryan Spooner are set to return to the lineup, but Dennis Seidenberg and Brett Connolly will miss the next two games.

ABOUT THE BLUES (46-22-9): Rookie Robby Fabbri suffered an injury to his left leg when he was cross-checked by Colorado's Jack Skille on Tuesday, but coach Ken Hitchcock said he expects him to return to practice in the next day or two. Fabbri has 18 goals and 19 assists on the season, but has come on strong in the second half while registering four goals and seven assists during the current 11-2-0 stretch. While Fabbri is listed as day-to-day, Alexander Steen returned to the lineup Tuesday following a 15-game absence and assisted on both power-play tallies.

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1. Blues G Brian Elliott has three shutouts in his last four outings, but he is 3-6-3 with a 2.90 goals-against average versus Boston.

2. Bruins G Tuukka Rask is 2-1-3 with a 1.80 GAA in his career against St. Louis.

3. The Blues have won four of the past five meetings, including a 2-0 victory at Boston on Dec. 22.

PREDICTION: Blues 3, Bruins 2

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