DENVER – While the Bruins could accomplish a couple of firsts in the NHL with a win tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, they’re continuing to worry about the process rather than the end result.
The Bruins could become the first team to clinch a playoff spot with a win combined with a New York Rangers loss, and they would become the first team to rip off an 11-game winning streak this season with another victory. But that would lose sight of a Colorado Avalanche team that beat the Bruins soundly in early October with size, talent and skill, and the continued desire to be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“Our focus is more on finishing on top of the conference. Mathematically we haven’t clinched a playoff spot, but most likely we are going to do that,” said David Krejci. “Our goal is to win [the Eastern Conference], have home ice in the first round of the playoffs, and then go from there.
“The President’s Trophy would be nice, but we want to stay ahead of Pittsburgh and clinch the first spot in the East. That’s our main focus.”
For Claude Julien, that is the difference this season with a veteran hockey club full of champions, as opposed to year’s past when the Bruins might get caught up in the importance of a winning streak or a playoff-clinching game. It might be easy to say when the Bruins hold a 14 point advantage in the Atlantic Division and a four point lead in the East over the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that’s the ideal position that the Black and Gold have put themselves in.
“I’m looking at our game tonight, but [clinching a playoff spot] would be nice,” said Claude Julien. “We were talking earlier about still having to clinch a playoff spot. We know our chances are pretty good. That’s not the point.
“It’s about doing that, and then working on the things that we have to work on moving forward. Getting guys some rest is one of those things that is important. Continuing to win is important too, and so it continuing to play well. If we continue to play well then we’re going to continue winning.”
The good times will eventually have to come to an end for the Bruins, and there’s every chance it could come in the next two days traveling all the way West to Colorado and Phoenix after playing five games in seven days. The Black and Gold have outscored opponents by a 41-15 margin over the 10-game winning streak, watched Tuukka Rask put up a six game winning streak with a .947 save percentage and marveled at Jarome Iginla piling up nine goals scored in the 10 victories.
Clearly that’s can’t last forever, but the Bruins will try to keep it going for at least one more game on Friday night.