Coming off of a no-show effort against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday afternoon, the Bruins had a chance to immediately redeem themselves Wednesday night in Colorado. When faced with this situation, teams tend to begin games a motivated group, hungry to avenge its previous loss. This was not the case for the Bruins, as they didn’t show up until the third period in a 6-3 loss in the Mile High City.
With the absences of Patrice Bergeron and David Backes up front, head coach Bruce Cassidy has had to tinker with the lines often through three games. The disappointing play of Ryan Spooner resulted in his demotion back to the third line, and Cassidy opted to place Riley Nash in between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Nash is a solid bottom-six forward but does not play at the same tempo as these skillful wingers.
Marchand and David Krejci are two veteran forwards who need to step up and set the tone for the rest of this offensive group that features plenty of youth. Marchand notched a first period goal and is starting to find his game again, but so far this season, he has not been the dominant player we’ve grown used to seeing. He has been playing alongside Bergeron for his entire career and does not have nearly the same amount of chemistry with any other center.
On the second line, Krejci has a tall task ahead of him while playing with two rookies. Not to take away from Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork, but Krejci has played with plenty of established talent over the past several years. Now, both of his linemates are entering their first NHL seasons and are trying to settle in to the league. After impressive debuts, DeBrusk and Bjork have struggled to generate much offensive pressure in the past two games. The return of Bergeron will significantly alleviate the pressure on these rookies who have had to take on more responsibilities in the early going.
The Bruins generated a total of just nine shots through two periods while allowing 26. The second period was particularly embarrassing, and the Avalanche dominated, scoring three goals on 15 shots. Boston’s defense made poor decisions with and without the puck, leaving players uncovered and struggling to make plays out of its own end.
It allowed numerous odd-man rushes, including one a minute into the period when Torey Krug made a bad pinch at the offensive blue line, resulting in a goal by Nail Yakupov. To make matters worse, it was Yakupov’s third goal in two games against the Bruins. He had three goals in 40 games last season.
Tuukka Rask was replaced by Anton Khudobin in the third period after allowing four goals, but this loss does not fall on him. The team left him out to dry for 40 minutes and finally looked determined in the third period, but it was too little too late. Goals by Tim Schaller and Torey Krug made it a 4-3 game in the final seven minutes, but two empty-net goals sealed the win for Colorado.
Two ugly losses does not mean it is time to panic. This team contains plenty of new faces and will need some time to hit its stride. That will be much easier to accomplish once the best two-way forward in the NHL returns to the lineup. Bergeron’s leadership qualities and all-around play will result in improvements in all three zones, and the Bruins will be able to move forward with consistent offensive lines.
- Charlie McAvoy loves to play the body, and he displayed his strength by dumping Nathan MacKinnon in the neutral zone.
- Adam McQuaid crosschecked Avalanche forward Tyson Jost from behind and had to answer the bell against Nikita Zadorov. This was McQuaid’s second fight this season, and unsurprisingly, he more than held his own.
- Late in the third period, massive miscommunication on the Bruins bench led to three players sitting on the boards while the Avalanche walked in on a three-on-one. Khudobin stood tall and made a highlight-reel save to keep it a one-goal game.
- This doesn’t have anything to do with the game itself, but this gif was too good not to share. No other player in the league has more fun during warmups than Pasta, and he made a young Avs fan’s night.
[Photo via Ron Chenoy, 9News]