BOSTON — Just about everything has gone the Bruins’ way this season, which proved to be true once again Thursday night.
Despite spending the vast majority of the season atop the NHL standings, there’s still value left in the final stretch of the campaign for the Bruins. That perception of the final few games scheduled was noted by Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery before puck drop when he elected to start goalie Linus Ullmark for a second consecutive time for playoff preparation purposes.
Going up against the Colombus Blue Jackets, who don’t have nearly as much to look forward to, the B’s found themselves in a far too familiar situation, trailing early, with a shot at the Presidents’ Trophy awaiting them at the end of the tunnel.
And thanks to Boston’s continued grit and never quit attitude, plus David Pastrnak keeping his foot on the gas through what’s been a career year, the Bruins were able to clinch after the 75-game mark.
“It’s been a magical season so far,” Montgomery said. “And we know the hardest part is ahead of us and we’re looking forward to our grind.”
While there was plenty of reason to celebrate following the 2-1 overtime win at TD Garden, Montgomery didn’t fail to acknowledge a few shortcomings the Bruins presented. Boston totaled 15 giveaways and also won four fewer face-offs (24) than Columbus.
On the one hand, those minor hiccups did add a slight element of difficulty against a subpar Blue Jackets team, but it also allowed the Bruins to provide the same level of play they have throughout the season.
“Even though tonight’s game was not the standard we’ve seen all year, it does exemplify how good of a team we are,” Montgomery said. “Because of people executing and relishing their roles and we come home with another win.”
Here are more notes from Thursday’s Bruins-Blue Jackets game:
— Boston improved to 58-12-5, setting a new franchise record for wins in a single season and surpassing the 1970-71 Bruins team.
“Like I said to the players, ‘Be proud of what we’ve achieved'” Montgomery said. “I guess it exemplifies how good a team we’ve been. And that’s a feather in everyone’s cap throughout the organization.”
— The 2022-23 Bruins clinched the Presidents’ Trophy after 75 games, which placed them tied for third all-time in fewest games played to do so, according to NHL Public Relations. It was also the fourth time that the B’s had done so in franchise history.
— Pastrnak’s overtime goal marked a career-high 53rd goal and 99th point this season.
— Ullmark, like the Bruins, also got back in the win column after saving 25 shots and holding the Blue Jackets scoreless in the third and fourth periods. Ullmark is now 6-2 in the month of March.
— The Bruins will return to action and take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Puck drop from PPG Paints Arena is set for 3 p.m. ET and will be aired on ESPN.