BOSTON -- No one cares about the Presidents' Trophy.
It means nothing. It's a token for the team with the best regular-season record in the NHL, which the Boston Bruins clinched with a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday at TD Garden, only the second time the Bruins have earned the accolade since its inception in 1985-86. Boston won it at the conclusion of the 1989-90 season. With one regular-season game remaining Sunday at the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins have a 54-18-9 record for 117 points.
The Presidents' Trophy has been officially awarded to the NHL's regular-season points leader since the 1985-86 season. In that time, eight teams have won both the Presidents' Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season. The Chicago Blackhawks accomplished the feat last season, but it's not something that translates into a Cup championship with any regularity.
"The Presidents' Trophy identifies a team who's been good for the regular season. The other thing is, it also guarantees home ice as long as you're in the playoffs. So, those are two things we're really proud of, but that's where it stops," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "The next step is we still got to do some work here in order to get the trophy that we all really want here." Once again, the Bruins are strong Stanley Cup contenders and hope to reach the finals for the third time in four years. Boston hoisted the Cup in 2011 with a win over the Vancouver Canucks to snap a 39-year championship drought. In 2013, Boston lost to the Blackhawks in six games.
Reaching hockey's pinnacle in 2014 is a goal and a real possibility for the Bruins. The Presidents' Trophy is already an afterthought.
"It is a nice achievement, that's for sure, but that wasn't our goal going into the season," said Bruins forward David Krejci. "The one good thing about it is as long as we're in the playoffs we'll be starting at home, so that's good. We're trying to accomplish something different." Saturday's win also means the Bruins will not lose more than two straight games this season, an impressive distinction to say the least. Comparing hockey to baseball is apples to oranges, but for some perspective, the Bruins' crosstown brethren, the Red Sox, did not lose more than three consecutive regular-season games in 2013 and eventually won the World Series.
The Bruins entered Saturday's game with losses in four of their past five games -- hardly the way the Bruins wanted to be playing as they prepare for the Stanley Cup playoffs. On the other hand, the Bruins are confident in their ability to turn on the proverbial switch once the postseason puck drops.
"We all believe in this group that when push comes to shove we're going to get down and dirty," said Bruins forward Daniel Paille, prior to Saturday's game. "We know we'll be prepared and we all have confidence in that."
The Bruins will face the Devils in the 2013-14 season finale Sunday (3 p.m. ET) at Prudential Center. Boston would like to carry Saturday's momentum into that game and continue it into the first round against an opponent to be determined.
"After tomorrow everything is going to start from zero," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "[Presidents' Trophy] is something that we certainly are proud of. We worked really hard this season and we wanted to play as best as we could and I think we accomplished that. But after tomorrow, it's going to go back to square one and no matter what you do in the regular season you still have to play a certain way to be successful. It's something that for sure you want to follow up on but you can't be thinking now that you are going to get more room or more respect. It's going to be, I think, even tougher."