The Boston Bruins have clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs – thanks to their 11th consecutive victory.
Yes, they have won 11 straight games and, with this latest run, have to be considered the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference later in the spring. The Bruins – Stanley Cup champions in 2011 and finalists in 2013 – held on to defeat the Colorado Avalanche by a final score of 2-0 on Friday night.
Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg provided all the offence the Bruins would need.
They would fend off the charges of the Avalanche, which included head coach Patrick Roy pulling Semyon Varlamov for the extra attacker with about five minutes remaining in the third period.
As per NHL.com, the Bruins would’ve clinch a post-season berth with any win over the Avalanche, or if they got a single point against Colorado and the New York Rangers lost in regulation to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
OK. The Rangers limited the options with their victory over Columbus earlier. But the Bruins didn’t seem to care about the scenarios. All they did was win. All they’ve been doing is winning.
From our friends at CSN New England:
The Bruins certainly aren’t getting their hopes up, but coach Claude Julien — like team president Cam Neely the day before — on Friday wouldn’t rule out the possibility that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg could rejoin the Boston lineup during the playoffs.
The German defenseman had surgery for a torn right ACL/MCL in early January after injuring his knee in a Dec. 27 game against the Ottawa Senators, and the Bruins said at the time he was done for the year.
The best-case scenario is that Seidenberg wouldn’t be ready until deep into a Boston playoff run, and even then there would be some hesitation to parachute someone who hadn’t played in six months into the most important games of the year.
Of late, the Bruins have been doing just fine without Seidenberg. And that’s an understatement. They head into tonight’s game with the Avs on a 10-game winning streak, a streak that’s pushed them four points ahead of Pittsburgh for the top seed in the East.
There does, however, remain concern that Boston’s back end — featuring the likes of Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller, Dougie Hamilton, and Torey Krug — lacks the requisite experience to excel in the playoffs.
Then again, even without Seidenberg, there’s still Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk, and a team could do worse than those two as veteran presences.
The Boston Bruins face a final month that may challenge their current place as the clear top team in the East, but they kept rolling against a far more desperate team on Tuesday. By beating the desperate New Jersey Devils decisively with a 4-2 score, Boston is now on a 10-game winning streak while their opponents’ playoff hopes seem to be dwindling.
Here are a few quick notes about the Bruins:
- They’re generally winning in impressive ways. Only one win in this streak came via a shootout. Eight have come by two goals or more.
- Again, things could hit a wall at some point, as nine of their last 13 contests are away from home. That being said, it’s not like they live off of home cooking alone; the Bruins are now 19-10-3 on the road this season.
- They’ve beaten teams that needed the points badly in the process; only Florida is totally out of the playoff picture. Teams like the Coyotes, Devils and Capitals surely had more to gain in games against the B’s, but it didn’t matter.
- Jarome Iginla scored the 556th goal of his career, tying him for 25th all-time. He’s now on a four-game goal streak (six in that span). He also has an impressive 26 on the season.
It almost seems like the reverse situation for the Devils. They’ve lost by a combined score of 12-5 in these past three games. The saving grace is that they play four more in a row in New Jersey and five of their next six in Newark overall, but time is running out for the Devils to turn things around.
The red-hot Boston Bruins will face a hungry New Jersey Devils team on Tuesday without defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who is labeled day-to-day with a leg injury. The 30-year-old also missed Monday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
(The team calls it a “bruise” and leaves the door open for a return later this week; Boston has games on Friday and Saturday as well.)
Corey Potter draws into the lineup tonight, according to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty.
As hot as Boston is right now, the Bruins are heading toward what could be a challenging final stretch with 10 of their final 14 games away from home. If they look as strong in mid-April as they do in mid-March, then many will indeed peg them as a leading contender in the East.
A 4-1 victory over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Monday night gave the Bruins their ninth consecutive win, and that has increased their lead atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Against the Wild, the Bruins once again got strong goaltending from Tuukka Rask – watch this glove save on Mikko Koivu in the second period – and veteran forward Jarome Iginla continued to contribute, scoring twice, although neither goal was of particular beauty. He’s now up to 25 goals on the season, and six goals in his last five games.
At this point in the season, with the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins dealing with injuries, it would appear the Bruins are again the frontrunners to come out of the East later this spring. If they were to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final – we said ‘if’ – that would make it three times in four seasons the Bruins make it to the championship series.