BOSTON, MA — After picking up back-to-back wins over a pair of new Atlantic Division rivals; the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, in their first two contests of the year, the Boston Bruins were faced with a weird scheduling oddity of four consecutive days off between home games. One would have to believe this played a huge part in Boston’s rather lackluster performance on Thursday evening in their return to TD Garden ice. As a result, the B’s were beaten for the first time this season, falling 2-0 at the hands of the Avalanche.
“We’ve been off for five days and it showed in that first period – we were a little rusty. But those aren’t excuses, those are facts and you have to work on those things. You have to be ready.” – Claude Julien
The Bruins had a multitude of scoring opportunities throughout the game, accumulating a grand total of 39 shots against Avs’ back-up netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The best chance of the night for the Black and Gold came in the first period, when Dougie Hamilton’s shot from the point on a power-play made its way through a screen and past Giguere, but caught the iron and deflected out of harm’s way.
At the tail-end of the opening frame, Colorado broke the scoreless tie with a goal on the power-play. After a bit of beautiful passing and puck control, former Ottawa Senators’ defenseman Andre Benoit would fire a wrist shot through a screen from the top of the point. The puck would be redirected on its way through by Ryan O’Reilly, and it trickled past Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask, putting the Avs ahead, 1-0.
Throughout the balance of the game, neither team was able to beat the opposing goaltender, as Giguere and Rask both appeared to be in midseason form. With just 26 seconds left in regulation, Colorado superstar Matt Duchene added an empty net goal to make it 2-0 and cap off an impressive road victory for the Avalanche.
With four consecutive victories to open the season, the Colorado Avalanche have been the surprise of the season thus far in the NHL. And after allowing just three goals over that span, the rest of the league shouldn’t be sleeping on the Avs.
“They (Avalanche) were fast, as we expected. I think you really saw it in the first period and they do a good job of supporting each other and creating speed in the neutral zone and it’s given them success” said Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic. “You’ve got to give them credit to for playing the way that they have started the year and they come in here and get two points”, he added.
Ben’s Three Stars of the Night:
2) Matt Duchene (1 Goal/1 Assist/3 Shots)
3) Tuukka Rask (29 Saves)
Looking Ahead: The Bruins will be back on the ice again this Saturday afternoon for their first road contest of the 2013-14 season. Puck-drop is set for 2:00 PM at Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.