The Colorado Avalanche would lose goalie, Philipp Grubauer and defenseman, Cale Makar but still defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 Saturday night at the TD Garden. It was an all-out assault by the Avalanche in the last 2 periods. Perhaps the Bruins are really missing Patrice Bergeron now as they dropped their second straight game on home ice to a Western Conference opponent. Jaroslav Halak, despite being one of the best goalies this season had an awful game with only 16 saves and a .842 save percentage. This was also the Bruins first regulation loss at home this season. Did this game prove the Bruins can no longer fight back in the third period or was this just a fluke?
The first period was very defensive-minded with no teams taking any penalties in the opening frame, P. Grubauer and J. Halak would stand tall in their cages for roughly the first 13 minutes. Who would score first? Andres Bjork passed it to the blue line and connected to John Moore whose shot was deflected in by Chris Wagner for the 1-0 Bruins lead. The third goal for Chris Wagner this season. Wow! Could the Bruins run away with this one after scoring first? Right afterwards, Brent Ritchie on a breakaway was denied by P. Grubauer with a right pad save when oddly after the save he left the game with a possible knee injury replaced by second year goalie, Pavel Francouz. A few minutes went by with both teams trading hits and blocked shots before the Avalanche struck back with a goal by Valeri Nichushkin that bounced off Par Lindholm’s stick to tie the game up at 1 a piece at the end of the first period.
The second period began with the Bruins playing like they were still on intermission, very sloppy on both phases of the game. The Bruins lacked quality shots on goal, the hungrier Avalanche made key blocked shots, the only hope the Bruins had was J. Halak. Defenseman, Ian Cole hit a beautiful slap shot that flew by J. Halak’s shoulder to make it 2-1 Avalanche. What a way to celebrate his first goal of the season in his 500th career NHL game. More mental errors on the Bruins defense as Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk collided into each other allowing Andre Burakovsky to score for the 3-1 Avalanche lead. Many would have thought that the Bruins would wake up from their slump to have a fantastic third period like they have been doing all season long.
The third period was underway when Brad Marchand hit rookie defenseman, Cale Makar who skated off with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Finally, the game met its first power play, Avalanche defenseman, Ryan Graves was called for a 2-minute high-sticking penalty but the Bruins could not find a way to capitalize on the power play to get back into the game. P. Francouz shut the door denying the Bruins shot after shot. The Bruins played their best period but was clearly outdone when Gabriel Landeskog scored an empty-netter for a 4-1 Avalanche win.
Looking back at this past Tuesday’s game when they faced the Hurricanes, the Bruins played sluggish until the third period and the very same on Thursday when they faced the Blackhawks. The Bruins will have to play better if they are going to make themselves known as a true Stanley Cup contender, they need to play hockey all three periods than just one period every game. As for the Avalanche, they went on the road and proved to beat a worthy contender like the Bruins to improve their record to 19-8-2.