Bruins blank Avalanche for 11th straight win
Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller (86) catches the puck as Colorado Avalanche center Maxime Talbot (25) hops toward it against Boston Bruins goalie Chad Johnson (30) the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Friday, March 21, 2014.(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Colorado Avalanche left wing Jamie McGinn (11) collides with Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Friday, March 21, 2014.(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) watches the puck bounce out of the net as Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson (21) reacts to the goal scored the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Friday, March 21, 2014.(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
DENVER – Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg each had a goal, Chad Johnson stopped 31 shots for his third career shutout, and the Boston Bruins beat the Colorado Avalanche, 2-0, last night for their 11th win in a row.
Boston became the first team to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It is the longest run for the Bruins since a 13-game winning streak in the 1970-71 season. They pushed their point total to 101, the 21st time the team has reached the 100-point threshold.
Colorado pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov for an extra attacker with five minutes remaining but couldn’t avert its first shutout of the season. The Avalanche had scored at least once in 80 straight games since their previous shutout last April 6 at Phoenix.
Colorado, which handed Boston its only shutout of the season on Oct. 10, was the last NHL team to be blanked this season.
Johnson was at the center of the effort, turning away one scoring opportunity after another. One of his best saves came in the second period when he used his glove to stop Nathan MacKinnon’s shot on a breakaway. Johnson improved to 10-0-1 in his last 11 starts, a career-best point streak which includes a pair of shutouts.
With the Bruins on the power play, Loui Eriksson passed to Soderberg in the lower right circle for a wrist shot into the upper corner of the net on Varlamov’s stick side. That made it 2-0 at 13:11 of the second period.
Boston also struck in the first period. Bergeron slipped through Colorado’s defense, taking a pass from Dougie Hamilton in the slot and firing a shot that Varlamov stopped. But the rebound trickled out, and Bergeron knocked the loose puck back into the net at 5:12.
∎ Boston hasn’t lost since a 4-2 defeat to Washington on March 1.
∎ The Bruins have also won their last six road games and earned a point in their past 13 (10-0-3).
∎ Boston has won its last three games in Denver.
∎ Avs C John Mitchell sat out for a second time after leaving Tuesday’s game at Montreal with a back injury. He remains day-to-day.
∎ Colorado D Erik Johnson turned 26 yesterday.