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Bruins beat Avalanche 2-0 for 11th straight win

DENVER--Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and Chad Johnson stopped 31 shots for his third career shutout as the Boston Bruins beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 on Friday night for their 11th win in a row.

Boston became the first team to clinch a spot in the NHL playoffs.

“We still have to play our hockey, really focusing on the little details going into the playoffs, and not getting satisfied and complacent,” Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “We just still have to push our team to the best, maximum results.”

The winning streak is Boston's longest since it won 13 straight in the 1970-71 season. The Bruins also pushed their point total to 101, the 21st time the team has reached the 100-point threshold.

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.

Colorado, which handed Boston its only shutout of the season on Oct. 10, was the last NHL team to be blanked this season.

In other games, the New York Rangers beat Columbus 3-1 and moved two points ahead of the Blue Jackets in the tight Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference playoff races.

Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan scored third-period goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves for the Rangers.

It was the first game back in Columbus for Rick Nash, who played for the Blue Jackets for nine seasons and leads the team in goals, assists and games. He was given a standing ovation during the first period, but was booed after a two-handed shove of Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

In Chicago, Jonathan Toews' short-handed breakaway goal early in the third period broke a tie as the Blackhawks edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

Patrick Sharp scored his team-leading 30th goal and Kris Versteeg ended an eight-game drought to help the Blackhawks win without leading scorer Patrick Kane, who sustained a lower-body injury on Wednesday.

The Nashville Predators also escaped with a 6-5 win over the Calgary Flames after Shea Weber scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period. He had two goals on the night.

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Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand #63 swats at the puck as Colorado Avalanche left wing Cody McLeod #55 watches the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Friday, March 21.

(AP)

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