Neither the Boston Bruins nor the St. Louis Blues have enjoyed great success so far in 2009-10, but after Monday night one of the clubs will be riding its first three-game winning streak.
The Bruins seek to improve to 3-0 on their four-game road trip as they visit a Blues team trying to wrap up a six-game homestand with a winning record.
Each club achieved consecutive wins for only the second time this season over the weekend. Boston (10-8-4) won 2-1 at Buffalo in overtime on Friday, one night after opening its trip with a 4-3 shootout victory in Atlanta. The Blues (8-8-4), who dropped two of three to open their homestand, followed a 3-2 win over Phoenix on Thursday by beating the New York Islanders 4-1 on Saturday night.
David Perron scored twice Saturday for St. Louis. The third-year winger increased his team-leading goal total to nine -- six shy of his career high of 15 -- with a between-the-legs move to beat New York goalie Dwayne Roloson and cap the night's scoring.
Blues coach Andy Murray had seen Perron perform the impressive move before.
"I saw it in a preseason game his very first year, which kind of convinced us maybe he could play in this league right away," Murray said.
Perron's heroics weren't the only thing that impressed Islanders coach Scott Gordon. Patrik Berglund and Eric Brewer also scored, and Chris Mason made 23 saves to help St. Louis earn its first consecutive wins since opening the season with a pair of victories over the Red Wings in Sweden.
"I can't believe (the Blues) are just .500," Gordon said. "That just blows my mind with the talent they have."
The Bruins and Blues don't face each other frequently, but Boston needs no convincing that St. Louis can be a dangerous opponent. The Bruins have dropped eight of nine meetings since Feb. 24, 2001, although six of those losses have been decided after regulation. Since the start of the 1996-97 season, the Blues are 13-2-0 with two ties against Boston.
Each team won on the other's home ice in 2008-09, with the Bruins taking a 6-3 victory at the Scottrade Center on Dec. 21 behind two goals from Blake Wheeler.
The defending Northeast Division champion Bruins appear to be finding their footing after a rough start, earning at least a point in seven of their last eight games (4-1-3). One big reason has been the emergence of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has been in net for three of the four wins in that stretch, including the first two games of this road trip.
The 22-year-old Finland native and former Maple Leafs first-round draft pick made 25 saves against the Sabres on Friday, including a point-blank save on Thomas Vanek three minutes into the third period and a blocker stop on Jochen Hecht's snap shot from the left circle with about four minutes remaining.
"Every game, (Rask) has gotten better and better," coach Claude Julien said. "We're in real good shape there, when you've got a young goalie like him coming up big for us."
Rask, who has never faced St. Louis, has taken advantage of increased playing time while starter Tim Thomas has been sidelined due to an undisclosed injury. Thomas, whose status for Monday is uncertain, hasn't played since a 6-5 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Nov. 14. He has lost all three of his career starts against the Blues, yielding nine goals.
The Bruins conclude their road trip Wednesday night at Minnesota.