Bruins clinch best record in NHL with 4-1 win over Sabres
Boston Bruins' David Krejci, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Dougie Hamilton (27) in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP / Michael Dwyer)
Howard Ulman, The Associated Press
Published Saturday, April 12, 2014 4:10PM EDT
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins clinched the NHL's best record and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with a 4-1 win over the league-worst Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
It is the first time the Bruins have claimed the Presidents' Trophy since the 1989-90 season.
Boston dominated the game between the teams at opposite ends of the standings.
David Krejci scored two goals, Patrice Bergeron netted his 30th of the season, one fewer than his career high set in 2005-06, and Gregory Campbell got his eighth.
Cody Hodgson scored for Buffalo.
Sabres goalie Matt Hackett was taken from the ice on a stretcher after Boston defenceman Torey Krug fell on his right leg with 11:35 left. He was replaced by Connor Knapp, who allowed Krejci's second goal one minute later.
It is the second time the Bruins have won the Presidents' Trophy, given to the NHL team with the most regular-season points, since the award was instituted for the 1985-86 season.
Boston's first-round playoff opponent was still unknown, with Philadelphia, Columbus and Detroit all possibilities.
On Sunday, Boston will wind up its regular-season schedule at New Jersey. Buffalo finishes at home against the New York Islanders.
The Bruins have 117 points, third most in team history behind 121 in 1970-71 and 119 when they won the Stanley Cup in the 1971-72 season.
Buffalo's 51 points are tied for its fewest in a season not shortened by a lockout.
Hoping for another long post-season run after losing last year's Stanley Cup finals in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bruins got back on track after losing four of their previous five games. That followed a streak in which they won 15 of 16.
But it was more of the same for the Sabres, who lost for the 17th time in 19 games with just 27 goals during that slump.
The Bruins scored twice in a span of 1:29 late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
Campbell tipped in a pass by Jordan Caron from the left boards at 16:54. Krejci made it 2-0 at 18:23 after Zdeno Chara's shot off the backboard ricocheted to him at the left corner of the net. Krejci easily backhanded the puck into the open side.
Bergeron made it 3-0 at 11:43 of the third period, taking a pass from the right corner from Brad Marchand and putting a shot from the top of the right circle through Hackett's legs.
Tuukka Rask, who leads the NHL with seven shutouts, missed out on another when Hodgson converted a rebound of Marcus Foligno's shot at 13:58 of the third period.
Krejci was credited with his 19th goal when his shot off the backboard hit Knapp's skate and went in the net.