DENVER – The Boston Bruins became the first NHL team to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And they did it by refusing to get ahead of themselves.
Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg each had a goal, Chad Johnson stopped 31 shots for his third career shutout, and the Bruins beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 on Friday night for their 11th win in a row.
“We don’t really worry about how many we’ve won or who we’re playing in one day or two days,” Johnson said. “We just worry about who’s next. That’s sort of where our mind-set is. Just staying in the moment, I think, is the biggest key to our success right now.”
Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said clinching a postseason berth won’t alter that mind-set.
“We still have to play our hockey, really focusing on the little details going into the playoffs, and not getting satisfied and complacent,” he said. “We just still have to push our team to the best, maximum results.”
Johnson was at the center of their latest success, which pushed their point total to 101, the 21st time the team has reached the 100-point threshold.
“He made some saves that helped us a lot,” Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. “I thought he played really well.”
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.
Rangers 3, Blue Jackets 1
In Columbus, Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan scored third-period goals, and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves to lead New York over the Blue Jackets.
It was the first game back in Columbus for Rangers star Rick Nash, the Blue Jackets’ franchise leader in goals, assists and games. He was given a standing ovation during a video tribute in the first period, but was booed loud and long after a second-period, two-handed shove up high on Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Blackhawks 3, Hurricanes 2
In Chicago, Jonathan Toews’ short-handed breakaway goal early in the third period snapped a tie, and the Blackhawks held on.
Patrick Sharp scored his team-leading 30th goal and Kris Versteeg ended an eight-game drought to help Chicago win without injured leading scorer Patrick Kane.
Predators 6, Flames 5
In Calgary, Shea Weber scored twice, including the go-ahead goal late in the third period, and Nashville escaped with a one-goal win.