Sun, Mar 23, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Bruins beat Avalanche 2-0 in 11th straight win

AP, DENVER, Colorado

Left to right, Jan Hejda of the Colorado Avalanche, Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins and Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche pursue the puck at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and Chad Johnson stopped 31 shots for his third career shutout as the Boston Bruins beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 on Friday night for their 11th win in a row.

Boston became the first team to clinch a spot in the NHL playoffs.

“We still have to play our hockey, really focusing on the little details going into the playoffs, and not getting satisfied and complacent,” Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “We just still have to push our team to the best, maximum results.”

The winning streak is Boston’s longest since they won 13 straight in the 1970-1971 season. The Bruins also 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 could not avert their first shutout of the season. The Avalanche had scored at least once in 80 straight games since their previous shutout on April 6 last year at Phoenix.

Colorado, who handed Boston their only shutout of the season on Oct. 10 last year, was the last NHL team to be blanked this season.

In other games, the New York Rangers beat Columbus 3-1 and moved two points ahead of the Blue Jackets in the tight Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference playoff races.

Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan scored third-period goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves for the Rangers.

It was the first game back in Columbus for Rick Nash, who played for the Blue Jackets for nine seasons and leads the team in goals, assists and games. He was given a standing ovation during the first period, but was booed after a two-handed shove of Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

In Chicago, Jonathan Toews’ short-handed breakaway goal early in the third period broke a tie as the Blackhawks edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

Patrick Sharp scored his team-leading 30th goal and Kris Versteeg ended an eight-game drought to help the Blackhawks win without leading scorer Patrick Kane, who sustained a lower-body injury on Wednesday.

The Nashville Predators also escaped with a 6-5 win over the Calgary Flames after Shea Weber scored twice, including the go-ahead goal late in the third period.

Tied 4-4 and with the Predators on the power play, Weber took a perfect pass from Matt Cullen and blasted a high slap shot past Joey MacDonald from the faceoff dot to put Nashville back into the lead at 14, 28 seconds.

Weber’s 18th goal tied him with Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson for second in the NHL among defensemen, one behind Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien.

Cullen added his seventh goal of the season at 17:08 on a deflection. That turned out to be the winning goal after Mike Cammalleri’s second of the game 28 seconds later set up a furious final two-and-a-half minutes for the Flames.

Calgary buzzed around the Predators net, but could not tie it against backup goalie Carter Hutton.

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