Game 2 of 82. Clearly not the same level of anticipation as the season opener for any team across the National Hockey League.
The Bruins, a few days removed from their 4-3 season-opening win over the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators, were hoping to pick up right where they left off against the Colorado Avalanche. They didn’t.
Instead, it was the same old story for the last two decades – an Avalanche victory on the TD Garden ice. This one, however, might be one of their sloppiest losses to the Avs in their last 10 Causeway Street contests (0-9-1 in that span).
From puck mismanagement in the offensive end to defensive breakdowns and poor decision making, the Bruins and their fountain of youth took a step back from their opening night high against the Predators. This all came against an Avs team that finished dead last out of 30 teams a season ago.
Of course, there are going to be some hiccups along the way, especially with a young team like the Bruins. But, in this instance, it appeared it was a lot more than miscues with their X’s and O’s during their first matinee of the season. Head coach Bruce Cassidy was the first to sum that up.
“This just wasn’t a good effort. Young, old and in between, and clearly I put myself in that category,” Cassidy said during his postgame press conference. “We were supposed to be ready to play at home – especially after a couple of days off – so that was the biggest disappointment to me.”
Even with Patrice Bergeron still out with a lower-body injury, the Bruins appeared to have a good thing going for them. They also added a couple of reinforcements with Torey Krug (jaw) and Austin Czarnik (illness) both removed from IR and skating in their first game of their 2017-18 campaigns.
The Bruins outshot the Avs 29-23 and won 71 percent of their faceoffs. Still, they found themselves chasing the game throughout the Columbus Day matinee.
Whether it was Anders Bjork or Jake DeBrusk missing an assignment on Sven Andrighetto’s tally at 4:41 of the first, a tough bounce that led to J.T. Compher finishing a 2-on-1 with former Bruin Carl Soderberg at 13:24 or Tuukka Rask going into no-mans land in the third period to try to cut off Nail Yakupov leading to the Avs third goal at 6:07, the Black and Gold couldn’t overcome any of their self-inflicted wounds.
“I think we just kind of got off to a slow start,” said Bjork, who was on the ice for three of the Avalanche’s four goals. “We kind of made some costly mistakes there in the first that put us down and then I think we couldn’t really battle back. We weren’t playing simple enough and getting pucks to the net but I think it was a tough game but I think we have the opportunity now to bounce back.”
The Bruins are set to embark on their first road trip of the season. Their first game of their three-game west coast swing starts in Denver for the second half of the home-and-home.
It’s back to the drawing board for Cassidy and company as they look to get into a better flow.
“I’ll be honest,” Cassidy added, “I didn’t like our couple of practices this weekend. I thought our execution was off, and we’re a little – but it’s early and you’re kind of giving them the benefit of the doubt. So again, that goes to preparation. We weren’t as crisp as we needed to be, and it showed tonight in the start. They were just better than us. We didn’t play the game we needed to play.”
Perhaps the Bruins will play the game they need to play against the Avs on Wednesday – much like they did on opening night.
“It’s a game that I want to forget, but use it as a learning experience,” DeBrusk said. Thankfully we get to play our next game in Colorado.”