The Bruins became the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot, as Chad Johnson picked up a hard-earned shutout with a 2-0 victory over the Avalanche. The win was Boston’s 11th straight, while it was the team’s seventh straight playoff berth.
The win streak is Boston’s third-longest, as the B’s are three away from the 14 in a row they won in 1929-30. Tying that will be tough, as the B’s next three games are against the Coyotes, Canadiens and Blackhawks.
Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal of the first period as the Bruins kept their opponent scoreless in the first period for the 10th straight game. The B’s have not trailed since March 9 in Florida.
The Bruins made it 2-0 in the second period on a Carl Soderberg power play goal. The B’s held on from there, despite Colorado coach Patrick Roy pulling Semyon Varlomov with five minutes remaining in the game. To Roy’s credit, the Bruins did not score an empty net goal.
Johnson made 30 saves in the game, improving his record to 16-3-1 on the season and getting his second shutout of the season.
The Bruins will face the Coyotes Saturday in Phoenix before returning to Boston to face the Canadiens Monday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Johnson was superb for the B’s as he got the start in two straight games for the second time all year. He had to make 24 saves over the first two periods, the biggest of which was on a Maxime Talbot partial breakaway off of a Chris Kelly neutral zone turnover. Johnson stopped Talbot’s backhand bid, among several other strong opportunities for Colorado.
- Dougie Hamilton played a pretty big role in both Boston goals. The 20-year-old took a pass from Bergeron on his backhand, moved across the blue line as he put it back on his forehand and slid the pass down low to Bergeron, who put the puck on net and buried the rebound.
In the second period, Hamilton did a good job of keeping Talbot’s clearing bid in the zone and fed Eriksson, who gave the puck to Soderberg before bolting to the net. From there, Eriksson, who is exceptional at screening the goalie without having to tip pucks, got in Varlamov’s way as Soderberg fired a wrester that beat the Avalanche netminder.
- Here’s something you don’t see every day: Kevan Miller all Bruins in time on ice in the first two periods with 15:13. Zdeno Chara played 13:23 over the first two, though he took a high-sticking penalty late in the first period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins had more defensive breakdowns than usual, meaning Johnson had to be good in order for them to hold the lead. The most notable one was on Talbot’s partial break in the second period off Kelly’s giveaway.
Johnson was also kept busy on a first-period shift from David Krejci‘s line in which both Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic were unable to get the puck out, leading to a couple of chances for Paul Stastnsy.
- The Bruins were outshot, 14-6, in the first period, though they came out of the period unscathed.
- This isn’t something that went wrong for the Bruins, but once again: Patrick Roy pulled his goalie with five minutes left. If that isn’t a different brand of fantastic I don’t know what is.
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