DENVER – The Bruins just keep on winning, and winning, and winning, and winning, and winning, and winning, and winning, and winning. That was short about four “winning” mentions for the B’s current 11-game winning streak lengthened by a solid 2-0 victory over a Colorado Avalanche team that came to play at the Pepsi Center.
Fortunately for the Bruins they also came to play, and became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth with the victory.
The win also pushed them into a dead heat with the St. Louis Blues for the best record in the NHL.
All of the above has the Bruins in an enviable spot poised to compete for the President’s Trophy with 12 games remaining on their schedule. Both Boston and St. Louis – two teams that are basically carbon copies of each other -- are sitting side-by-side in the standings with 101 points, but the Blues do have a game in hand on the Black and Gold.
With all that in mind, Zdeno Chara is hoping his team can keep their sights focused on the important things that remain a little less than a month away.
“I don’t think it’s going to change our mindset. We still have to play our hockey, and really focus on the little details going into the playoffs,” said Zdeno Chara. “We can’t get satisfied or complacent, and still push our team to the maximum results and basically get ready for the playoffs when they come.”
Those are sagacious words from a Bruins captain that’s well aware of how easily a hockey club can get comfortable when they’re not being actively pushed every single day.
With the division well in hand and the Bruins leading the Penguins by a commanding six points for the Eastern Conference title, it will become a challenge for the Bruins to retain their edge with little to play for over the final 12 games of the season. The B’s players have done some pretty great things over the last month in building the NHL’s longest winning streak of the season, and putting up a record of 19-2-3 over their last 24 games dating back to Jan. 16.
But the biggest hurdle has yet to be cleared for the Bruins. That will come when they inevitably cool down from their dominant winning streak, and need to once again tap into this level of play against a low seed playoff team that needed to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs.
That’s the ultimate challenge for the NHL’s elite teams when the playoffs roll around, and the Bruins have proven they are most certainly one of those this season after collecting their 11th consecutive win on Friday night.