(Photo Credit: AP Photo: David Zalubowski)
Home: Colorado Avalanche
Away: Boston Bruins
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Nordstrom – Krejci – DeBrusk
Heinen – Forsbacka-Karlsson – Bjork
Wagner – Kuraly – Backes
Chara – Grzelcyk
Krug – Moore
Lauzon – Kampfer
Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Jost – Kerfoot – Wilson
Dries – Soderberg – Calvert
Nieto – Kamenev – Bourque
Girard – Johnson
Cole – Barrie
Zadorov – Barberio
The top two lines headlined this late-night showdown in Colorado coming in. With three wins in their last four games, the Bruins entered the Pepsi Center with some momentum as they looked to stifle the MacKinnon line and company.
High-tempo and physicality were at the forefront of this game early. There wasn’t a stoppage of play until the 14:10 mark of the period. David Pastrnak almost scored his 17th goal of the season on a turnover off the stick of Gabriel Landeskog in the slot, but he rung the left post – marking the first big scoring chance of the game.
The MacKinnon line struck first off of a defensive miscue on part Zdeno Chara and poor coverage in front of the net. Gabriel Landeskog found himself alone on an island in the offensive zone, where he ripped one past Jaroslav Halak to give Colorado the advantage.
The potential for a break came in the Bruins favor when Mark Barberio took a cross-checking penalty with 5:10 to go in the period. Playing a man up has been a strong point this season for the Bruins, as their power play ranked third best in the league at 30 percent.
Early in the man advantage came the fourth post hit for the Bruins in the period, proving that the puck luck wasn’t on their side. Plenty of chances came out of the power play leading up to David Pastrnak burying his 17th goal of the season with 3:17 remaining. David Krejci sent a perfect slap pass towards the net for Pastrnak to redirect past Semyon Varlamov, tying the game at one. Krejci’s assist marked his 14th of the season, David Backes’ assist gave him his first point of the season. Jaroslav Halak followed that up by making a huge, sprawling save on Gabriel Landeskog to keep the game tied.
Miscommunication in the offensive zone between Nathan MacKinnon and Samuel Girard led to a loose puck being left in the neutral zone for Jake DeBrusk to dispose of in the back of the Colorado net on a breakaway with 39.7 seconds remaining. DeBrusk’s sixth of the season gave the Bruins their first lead of the game.
Shots at the end of the period were 10-7 in favor of the Bruins. It’s safe to say that the first period was one of the most, if not the most electric of the season. The pace was set for a wild game to come.
Score: 2-1 Boston
Zdeno Chara was absent from the Bruins bench to start the period for unknown reasons, forcing the Bruins to operate with five defensemen. The clip below may provide a reason why. Chara did not play the rest of the game. The injury adds to a battered Bruins defensive core with Urho Vaakanainen, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Kevan Miller all out with injuries of their own.
Just a minute and 17 seconds into the period, Colin Wilson went to the box for Colorado. The Bruins made it two for two on the power play when David Pastrnak sent a one-timer from the point to the net to be tipped by Jake DeBrusk. His second of the game and seventh of the season gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead. DeBrusk then unleashed one of his vintage, electric goal celebrations.
A lengthy offensive zone stint for Colorado came in response, as it seemed the two-goal deficit lit a fire under them. Eventually, they got their first power play when David Pastrnak went off for hooking with 12:08 remaining – and they made good on it. Some swift puck movement allowed Mikko Rantanen to find space at the top of the circle on his off-wing, where he unleashed a heavy wrist shot past Halak – 3-2 Bruins.
The lack of whistles in this game was astonishing. Some of the best pace I’ve ever seen in a hockey game. Unfortunately, said pace came in large part due to Colorado’s ability to control the puck frequently in the neutral and offensive zones. Food for thought, the top two lines were changed up a bit late in the frame.
With 49 seconds to go in the period, Patrice Bergeron went off for hooking, as did Mikko Rantanen for embellishment. Neither team scored before the end of the period. The shots were 7-4 in favor of Colorado in the period and 14-14 through two periods.
Score: 3-2 Boston
Both teams escaped the 4-on-4 unscathed. But not too long after, Matt Calvert found himself on a two-on-one with Carl Soderberg, sent a wrist shot at Halak and a wild bounce somehow led to the puck ending up in the net off of a spin-o-rama of all things. It was weird, really weird, and it tied the game with 17:49 to go.
Mikko Rantanen continued to feast with a slick assist on his buddy Nathan MacKinnon’s go-ahead goal with 10:58 to go. The Avalanche take their first lead since the early following Gabriel Landeskog’s goal.
Things didn’t get any better as the Bruins struggled to generate shots on goal in the third. With 6:20 remaining, David Krejci went to the box for holding, giving Colorado a great chance for an insurance marker. In the dying seconds of the power play, Girard sent a point shot on net that was deflected and found itself through and behind Halak for Tyson Jost to poke into the net and give Colorado a 5-3 lead.
After diving to keep a puck in the offensive zone against Vegas on Sunday night, David Krejci brought the heroics back. He chased a tumbling puck that was surely heading into the open Bruins cage and threw it out of harms way right in front of the goal line. Halak was pulled early in hopes to provide enough of an advantage to even this crazy game up.
Lots of chances, no dice. Patrice Bergeron took a hooking penalty on Nathan MacKinnon, putting the dagger in things for the Bruins in a wild game. Alex Kerfoot added insult to injury with 15 seconds to go when he tipped a Carl Soderberg shot past Halak, making it 6-3 Colorado. The final shots were 25-23 in favor of Colorado in their winning effort. All attention shifts to Friday when the Bruins will take on the Dallas Stars on the road at 8 PM ET.
Final Score: 6-3 Colorado
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