Torey Krug’s return along with Austin Czarnik; Patrice Bergeron a day-to-day; Noel Acciari and David Backes on injured reserve. OK, minor story lines for Monday’s matinee encounter with the Colorado Avalanche.
Take two points before hitting the road for three away the next week. OK, maybe a tad more important.
Ask your water-cooler question of the week, however, and maybe it’s the best subplot of the rest. Which NHL team has the longest unbeaten streak at TD Garden against the Black and Gold?
Would you believe that the Ray Bourque trade and then his parading Lord Stanley, both happened AFTER the Bruins last took a W against Colorado at home? Those two former dates would be 1999 and 2000, respectively.
That latter date would be October 14, 1998. The Bruins were 0-9-1 at home against Colorado in the 10 games since.
At 1-1-0 and on the road to begin their season, the Avalanche were a good opponent for Boston to get off to a 2-0-0 start before a western swing. First, back to Colorado Wednesday, then Arizona and their first-ever game in Las Vegas before returning to TD Garden October 19 vs. Vancouver. All four not among most puck pundit’s picks to be playing after Game 82 come early April.
Maybe one last storyline: Would newcomers Anders Bjork (one assist), Jake DeBrusk (one goal, one assist) and Charlie McAvoy (one goal) replicate their dazzling debuts against the Nashville in Monday’s matinee?
Monday afternoon, coach Bruce Cassidy had the two newbies, DeBrusk and Bjork, starting on the second line with David Krejci in the pivot. Krejci had three assists in the opener.
Fresh off Thursday’s 4-3 opening win against highly regarded Nashville, here’s what we learned in Boston’s 4-0 stinker to keep the Avs’ streak intact at TD Garden.
Three shots, two goals for the visitors
“Wasn’t our A-game,” Cassidy said postgame. “Just not enough A-games in the group.”
The Bruins’ B-game the first twenty minutes peppered 11 shots on Semyon Varlamov with nary a goal, while Colorado scored two on their first three shots. At 4:41 Sven Andrighetto wristed one from 10 feet out – Rask the initial save but off the tip of his glove and the puck dribbled home.
The B’s on the power play at 13:24 – J.T. Compher’s right-dot dart was past Rask in a blink on a 2-on-1 for the two-goal lead. Former Bruin Carl Soderberg assisting.
Worst stats of the period: DeBrusk and Bjork a combined max minus-4 after two periods; minus-6 for the game. McAvoy a minus-2.
“We weren’t strong on the puck down low,” Cassidy assessed about his rookies, “had some young players on the ice again – but I’m not going to put it on them, I mean, we had plenty of time to get back in the game.”
An early second-period attempt on a goal-line stuffer by David Pastrnak was disallowed when it did not quite cross the goal line. Two wasted power plays later, the score remained 2-0 into the final period.
“I saw that it didn’t go over the line,” Pastrnak said after. “It was hanging out over the line and so I tried to poke it and then I kind of missed the poke because I was coming in the space. I should have stopped there and rebounded there.”
Flurries in the third keep Avalanche streak intact
Rask held serve on a 3-on-1 Avs’ rush the first minute before deciding to go speed skating against Nail Yakupov at 6:07. Advantage Yakupov when he beat Rask to the loose puck with more daylight to paydirt than a practice pitch to Aaron Judge.
“Well, it’s a split second decision,” Rask said about his foot race. “You see that you have a chance for the puck and you go for it and try to make a play and get the puck to your own team. I didn’t do it, obviously. So that’s all you can say about that.”
Yakupov added an empty-netter at 19:16 with Rask on the pine.
The Bruins were 0-for-4 on the power play in the 4-0 final.
“Obviously that short-handed goal made a big difference in the hockey game,” Cassidy said. “Even though it was early it never came around – our power play – which last year was a strength. So we’ve got to look at that obviously, too.”
“I don’t think we were good in any area early,” Cassidy added. “To not have the energy to sustain it and get yourself back in the game is disappointing.”
“From the first shift, everything went the wrong way,” Pastrnak said, “We have to learn what we did wrong and how we can do better next time.”
Wednesday in Colorado.