Bruins Game 4 Preview: Colorado Avalanche

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL on YouTube)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

The Boston Bruins have had a pretty solid start to the 2019-2020 campaign, winning all three games against the Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes and most-recently, the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. It is the first time since 2002 that the Bruins start a regular season with a 3-0-0 record and to do it all on the road nonetheless.

The Colorado Avalanche made a name for themselves last season with their powerhouse first line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The Avs and Bruins were neck-and-neck in the competition for the best line in the NHL. Colorado managed to get into the playoffs as a Wild Card team and eliminated the Calgary Flames in five games before losing to the San Jose Sharks in seven.

In 2019-20, Colorado boasts a 2-0-0 record heading into tonight’s game against Boston, winning 5-3 over the Flames and 4-2 over the Wild last week. The Avalanche are coming into tonight’s game with four days of rest, having last played on Saturday, October, 5th.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 1-0-0 0.00 GAA 1.000 SV% Last Game: 1-0 Win vs ARI

COL: Phillip Grubauer 2-0-0 2.50 GAA .918 SV% Last Game: 4-2 Win vs MIN

Who’s Hot

Brad Marchand has been a force to be reckoned with for the Boston Bruins to start the season and he showed that with a two-goal performance in the 4-3 win over the Golden Knights on Tuesday night. It was Marchand’s second and third marker of the year, adding to the lone goal against the Coyotes last Saturday. The 31-year-old has 3-1-4 totals in three games so far.

As previously mentioned, the first line of the Avalanche is a scary threat to any team and Mikko Rantanen, fresh off his brand new six-year contract extension with Colorado, has showcased that so far. The Finnish winger has three goals and one assist for four points in only two games played for the Avs and he has 1-4-5 stat-sheet in seven career games against the Bruins.

Second in points for the Bruins so far this season is none other than linemate David Pastrnak. Even after many suggestions to place the young winger on the second-line alongside David Krejci, Bruce Cassidy has kept the dangerous first line together to start the season and it has paid off. Pastrnak currently has one goal and two assists for three points in the opening three games of ’19/’20 – all three of them coming in Tuesday’s win over Vegas.

Who’s Not

During the off-season, one of the bigger moves was the trade that sent Toronto Maple Leafs veteran Nazem Kadri to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenceman Tyson Barrie and forward Alexander Kerfoot. So far with the Avs, Kadri has zero points in the opening two games and is playing just around 15 minutes per game. Kadri saw a decrease of about three minutes of ice time in Saturday’s win over Minnesota compared to Thursday’s win over Calgary.

Brandon Carlo is arguably one of the top defensive blueliners on the Boston Bruins right now and may have the potential to grow into one of the league’s best as well considering his young age. However, he has not had the greatest start to the new season, especially Tuesday versus the Golden Knights. On numerous occasions, Carlo made poor choices on pinches in the offensive zone that led to turnovers or chances for Vegas the other way. It is a small poor stretch, but expect this to end fast – even by tonight.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Brad Marchand is two assists away (298) from 300 career NHL assists
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (52) from passing Rick Middleton (52) for 6th-most game-winning goals in Bruins history

Colorado Avalanche:

  • F Gabriel Landeskog is one goal away (178) from passing Matt Duchene (178) for sole possession of 7th-most goals in Avalanche history.
  • F Nathan MacKinnon is one assist away (150) from passing Matt Duchene (150) for sole possession of 10th-most assists in Avalanche history.

Bruins vs Avalanche Outlook:

You do not want to miss this one. Two of the most dangerous lines in the National Hockey League today battle it out early in the season while both remain undefeated. Last season, the two teams played only a pair of games because they’re in opposing conferences. In the two games, the Bruins finished with a record of 1-1-0, losing 6-3 on November 14th and picking up a 2-1 overtime win in February.

As already stated, the Bruins and Avalanche are among a small group of teams still without a loss on the year, but after tonight, only one of these franchises will have a zero in the loss column. Colorado is averaging the third-most goals-for-per-game at roughly 4.5 goals scored. On the flip side, the Bruins are second in the NHL for the least amount of goals allowed (4), tied with the Chicago Blackhawks.

According to the morning rushes prior to the game, forward Joakim Nordstrom will make his season debut for the Bruins after dealing with an injury that dates back to the Stanley Cup Finals series. In response, forward Brett Ritchie (1-0-1 in 3 games) will be the healthy scratch for Boston.

For Colorado, forward J.T. Compher will miss tonight’s game (lower-body) while forward Colin Wilson and defenceman Mark Barberio will make their season debuts as well. Defenceman Ian Cole has been cleared for practice but he remains on the team’s injured reserve list (hips).

Finally, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will be in attendance for tonight’s game – just an additional piece of fun information.

Puck drop is scheduled for 9:00pm EST in the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 148 that we recorded on 10-6-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

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