The defending champions won 10 in a row in Edmonton to secure the top playoff seeding at the Tim Hortons Brier.
While other teams fought for the three remaining playoff berths Friday, Howard, third Wayne Middaugh, and front end Brent Laing and Craig Savill were above the fray having assured themselves of winning the round robin the previous day.
No other team was going to finish with more than eight wins. Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador was the second team into the playoffs at 8-3, with his seeding to be determined by other games at night.
Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton and Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs each had seven wins. Quebec's Jean-Michel Menard and Alberta's Kevin Martin were still in the running with six wins apiece. Ties for fourth are solved by tiebreaker games.
In the Page playoff, the top two teams meet in one playoff game Saturday afternoon with the winner going directly to Sunday evening's final.
The loser drops to Sunday morning's semifinal to face the winner of Saturday night's playoff between the third and fourth seeds, with the semifinal winner heading to the final.
As the top seed, Howard will have hammer to start Saturday's playoff game. Ontario also has first choice of rocks from the four sheets of ice to create their playoff set.
Those are small advantages, Howard concedes. Beyond those two perks, he feels all the work they did in the round robin doesn't give them much safety in the playoffs.
The top two teams get a second life in the Page playoffs because the loser of the game between them isn't eliminated, so Howard argues finishing second is almost as good as first.
"I've never liked the Page system. Can't stand it. It's never made any sense to me, especially if there's an outright winner of the round robin," Howard said. "There's no advantage. We could conceivably go 11-0 and someone could come in at 8-3.
"I always thought the winner of the round robin should get the bye to the final. We could conceivably end up fourth which doesn't make sense to me. We've played everybody once. To me, the winner of the round-robin should go to the final."
That was the scenario for 15 years after a playoff format was introduced to the Brier in 1980.
In 1995, the Page playoff was instituted to give both the Brier host committee and the host broadcaster another game on the final weekend to draw spectators to the building and viewers to their televisions.
The team finishing first in the round robin has won the Canadian title 13 of 18 years since then. Glenn Howard (2007, 2012) is part of that group, but also he's twice topped the round-robin standings and didn't win (2006, 2010).
Howard went 10-1 in the round robin and defeated Quebec's Jean-Michel Menard in the one-two Page playoff, only to lose to Quebec in the final.
Howard has skipped Ontario into the playoff eight straight years, winning twice and losing in the final four times in that span. The 50-year-old skip can at least feel confident about how his team is performing heading into the final weekend.
"This is probably one of the best Briers I've ever seen the four of us play," Howard said. "It's been surreal. All four guys are firing on all eight cylinders. I love what I see. The confidence is there. We're not making any back-to-back misses and hardly any misses at all.
"I hope we can maintain that and go through the playoffs with the same quality of play."
Newfoundland wrapped the preliminary round with a 5-4 win over Quebec's Menard.
Gushue, the 2006 Olympic champion, has reached the Brier playoff seven times in 10 appearances, but he has yet to win it and his team this year is low on Brier experience. Third Brett Gallant is playing his first Canadian men's championship and front end Adam Casey and Geoff Walker their second in as many years.
Newfoundland won seven in a row before losing to Manitoba, Ontario and then Alberta.
"To finally be on the right side of a well-played game is nice," Gushue said. "We probably played better in the last four than in the first seven. We came up against Glen with his best game of the week, we came up against Kevin with his best game of the week and I would imagine that's one of Jean-Michel's better games too.
"It seems like people are making a lot of shots against us and fortunately we're making a lot of shots too to make them good games."
Jamie Koe of the Territories and James Grattan of New Brunswick finished tied at 5-6. In his final game, Koe posted a 10-6 win over Saskatchewan that ended the playoff chances of Brock Virtue (4-6). New Brunswick fell 7-4 to Northern Ontario in their final game.
Prince Edward Island's Eddie MacKenzie concluded his Brier 1-10 with a 5-4 loss to Nova Scotia's Paul Flemming.Suggest a correction