By: Jeremy Perrigo
The Colorado Avalanche came into the TD Garden Monday afternoon with something to prove. After accumulating a league-low 48 points last season the Avs faced summer-long trade rumors revolving around star center Matt Duchene. With Duchene still on the roster to begin the 2017-18 season Colorado split their first two games prior to playing Boston, and were hoping to have a plus .500 record after game No. three.
It was the Colorado Avalanche who struck first during the Matinee at the Garden with winger Sven Andrighetto lighting the lamp only 4:41 into the first period.
The Bruins and Avs traded scoring opportunities until Nikita Zadorov took a slashing penalty 8:37 into the period. At the very end of the penalty and only seconds before Zadorov exited the box J.T. Compher put the Avalanche up 2-0 on a two-on-one against Charlie McAvoy shorthanded.
Torey Krug took a penalty for hitting to the head with 5:50 remaining in the period. On the resulting power play Colorado had multiple scoring chances but failed to convert. The period concluded 2-0.
The Bruins came out hot to start the period. David Pastrnak sprinted down the left wall and cut hard toward the net nearly sliding the puck past the far side of Semyon Varlamov. Upon further review it showed that Varlamov got just enough of his left pad on the puck to keep it on the goal line and out of the net.
At the other end of the ice Rask was forced to come up with a couple big saves as Matt Duchene actively buzzed the Bruins end of the ice creating opportunities. About halfway through the period former Bruin Carl Soderberg received a slashing call. On the resulting power play the B’s had multiple scoring chances from David Krejci in the bumper position and Austin Czarnik on the wall.
Boston failed to convert on the powerplay and the period ended with the same score of 2-0, outshooting the Avalanche 22-13 after 40 minutes.
Down two goals heading into the final frame two points was not entirely out of reach for Boston. Facing an Avalanche team that has been known in recent years for a defense that is able to be exploited, a strong twenty minutes could potentially swing the tide of the game.
That changed when Nail Yakupov stormed the Bruins zone chasing an indirect pass off the boards from Patrik Nemeth. Tuukka Rask sprinted out of his net to challenge Yakupov for the puck. Yakupov narrowly beat-out Rask, and with a quick move around the Bruin netminder, fired the a shot into the empty net to put the Avs up 3-0.
The rest of the period was more of the same, Boston pressured but was unable to solve Semyon Varlamov. The Bruins had one power play off an Anton Lindholm tripping call that they failed to convert. Yakupov would be credited with an empty-net goal after David Pastrnak knocked him into the net on what have been a scoring play even though the puck never legally crossed the goal line, giving Colorado four on the afternoon.
Boston out-shot Colorado 29-23 and won the majority of faceoffs with 71.2% in the dot. The Avalanche were 0/1 on the powerplay and the Bruins were 0/4.
Final Score: Colorado 4 - Boston 0
Both teams gave up odd-man chances 2-1 and Boston was even guilty of giving up a 3-1 that did not result in a goal. The Bruins gave the Avalanche shooters too much time and space, they missed assignments and did not make high percentage plays that are indicative of the Bruins of the past that were traditionally very strong on defense.
Although Boston did get defenseman Torey Krug back from an upper-body injury it was clear that Krug was still adjusting to his first game back. On a couple occasions Krug let a puck hop over his stick on the powerplay in a situation where he otherwise would make the play.
Center Patrice Bergeron was out Monday, but head coach Bruce Cassidy said he will travel with the team to Colorado for the second half of a home-and-home between the two teams Wednesday night at 9pm EST.