Winners of 10 consecutive games, the Boston Bruins have put the Presidents’ Trophy within their grasp.
The Bruins will be tied for the most points in the league if they can record their longest winning streak in 43 years Friday night when they travel to face the Colorado Avalanche.
Both Boston’s offense and defense have been the best in the NHL since this streak began March 2. During that stretch, the Bruins (47-17-5) lead the league in scoring with 4.0 goals per game while also allowing the fewest at 1.50 per contest.
During the win streak, 16 Bruins have scored goals, led by winger Jarome Iginla with nine. He has six goals in the past four games, including one Tuesday in a 4-2 victory at New Jersey.
"I just think our guys have been playing hard throughout the whole lineup," coach Claude Julien told the team’s website. "You know, we just finished five games here in seven days, and that’s got to be tough on players, and in order to have that kind of success in that short span, you’ve got to be able to utilize your whole bench as much as you can."
This 10-game streak, which ties San Jose for the longest in the NHL this season, has pushed Julien’s club ahead of Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference lead. Boston also has moved within two points of NHL-leading St. Louis, which is idle until Saturday.
The Bruins last won 10 in a row Nov. 1-23, 2011, and they haven’t had a longer winning streak since a 13-game run Feb. 23-March 20, 1971.
"I just think right now our whole team is feeling good about their games, and you know how when you feel good about it, you seem to have that energy," Julien said.
The Avalanche (44-20-6) also had been playing well, winning six of seven, but has since lost three of four and now looks to avoid dropping three straight for the first time in 2014. Poor defense has let the team down in the last three defeats, allowing 17 goals.
Colorado dropped into third place in the Central Division after a 5-4 overtime loss at Winnipeg on Wednesday. The Avalanche scored 20 seconds into the game but fell behind 12 minutes later and never regained the lead.
"We were not trying to find excuses. We haven’t done that all year," coach Patrick Roy said. "We just wanted to make sure we had a good start, and we did. We scored on our first shift. I thought our guys had good legs… We need to be ready for the Bruins on Friday night."
Reto Berra made his first start in goal for Colorado since being acquired from Calgary at the trade deadline, and he made 22 saves. First-string goalie Semyon Varlamov rested against Winnipeg but should be ready for the matchup with Boston.
The Avalanche won 2-0 in Boston on Oct. 10 behind 39 saves from Jean-Sebastien Giguere. However, they’ve lost the only two meetings in Colorado since Dec. 7, 2005.
Boston is 9-0-3 in its last 12 road games overall.