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Bruins 2, Avalanche 0

The SportsXchange

DENVER - Goaltender Chad Johnson had 31 saves for his second shutout of the season and the red-hot Boston Bruins won their 11thstraight, 2-0, over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

Centers Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg had a goal each and defenseman Dougie Hamilton had two assists for Boston.

The 11-game win streak is the Bruins' longest since they won that many during the 1970-71 season. Boston (48-17-5) also became the first team to reach 100 points this season, and reached that milestone for the fourth time under coach Claude Julien.

The Bruins are 19-3-3 since Jan. 11 and clinched a playoff spot with the victory.

The Bruins got another strong start from Johnson, who is now 16-3-1 in 23 games. He got his third career shutout and first since Feb. 1 against Edmonton.

He had to turn away some good chances by Colorado to get the win and hand the Avalanche their first shutout of the season.

After Bergeron gave Boston a 1-0 lead at 5:12 of the first period, the Avalanche pressured Johnson following the ensuing faceoff. He turned away several shots to keep Colorado off the board.

In the second period, he made a shoulder save on defenseman Jan Hejda, who nearly tipped in a pass from center Matt Duchene.

The Avalanche did not cash in on two power plays, but the Bruins did on their first. Soderberg skated to the left faceoff dot and beat goalie Semyon Varlamov at 13:11 of the second.

Varlamov came off for an extra attacker with 5:02 remaining in the third and stayed there the rest of the game, but Colorado couldn't score on Johnson.

Varlamov finished with 26 saves for the Avalanche, who are going through their toughest stretch of this surprising season. They are 1-3-1 in their last five games and have fallen three points behind Chicago for second place in the Central Division with 11 games remaining.

Things won't get easier for Colorado. Seven of those games are on the road and eight are against teams that are in or fighting for a playoff spot.

NOTES: Boston D Johnny Boychuk missed his third straight game with a foot injury. ... Avalanche C John Mitchell sat out his second game in a row with a back injury suffered in Montreal on Tuesday. Colorado coach Patrick Roy said Mitchell is considered day-to-day but could be out as long as 10 more days. ... Boston entered Friday a plus-74 in goal differential, which is tops in the NHL. ... Avalanche C Paul Stastny returned to the lineup after sitting out the overtime loss to Winnipeg on Wednesday.

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