Bruins can’t overcome bad start in falling to Colorado
DENVER — The Bruins clearly need to do a much better job of scoring goals, and at keeping pucks out of their own net.
In the opener of a three-game Western trip and the immediate rematch of their one-sided loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Boston on Monday, the B’s generated a scant nine shots-on-goal in the first 40 minutes, with only a Brad Marchand score to show for it, in a 6-3 loss to the talented young Avs.
“I have no words for that,” said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. “(It was) not a very good game, obviously. We were not on the puck, with the puck, under the puck, just not good enough all over the ice. We have to go and play better. It’s up to use that we fix it.”
The B’s did stage a third-period surge to storm back with 14 shots on goal. Tim Schaller scored at the net-front to cut the deficit to 4-2. The Torey Krug kept digging in close on a power play with 7:03 left to make it 4-3.
But a pair of empty-nets goals by the Avs’ iced the win, taking back-to-back wins against the B’s.
“We didn’t really get anything going,” said B’s goalie Tuukka Rask. “We woke up when it was 4-1, but that was too late. Sometimes it just happens that the heads are not there. For my part, I actually felt good. But then the last two (goals), I got caught a half-step too deep (in the net) and they beat me.
“If we want to take some points out of that game, I have to be standing on my head. I just couldn’t made those last two saves.”
The Avs have a slew of talented snipers, who got open looks from close range. But the B’s could have used another save or two from Rask. He stopped 22-of-26 shots before being replaced for the third period by Anton Khudobin. In five periods, Rask allowed seven Colorado goals.
Highly motivated in their home opener after a successful 2-1-0 trip, the Avalanche came out playing very hard and dominated the first half of the period. After 12:25 of play, the B’s had just one forgettable shot, having been pinned in their zone most of the time.
But despite their quick 8-1 edge in shots, the lone goal for the Avs was by rookie Alexander Kerfoot, the former four-year Harvard star, at 8:18. His first career goal wasn’t exactly a highlight film gem. He skated in front of the net, a wrist shot from out high by Tyson Barrie bounced off him and tumbled high over Tuukka Rask into the net.
“I really don’t know how it went in,” said Kerfoot. “It just banged off me.”
The Bruins played better in the second half of the period, and knotted the score at 17:06 on Marchand’s snap from the right circle high to the far side past goalie Semyon Varlamov.
The scoring play began with center Ryan Spooner nudging a puck out into neutral ice. Marchand worked hard to shrug off a rather half-hearted backcheck by Matt Duchene, found some skating room down the right side and put his shot precisely where he wanted it.
There was a rather uneventful fight early in the first period — Matt Beleskey vs. Mark Barberio — and a much better heavyweight bout in Period 2. The Avs didn’t like it when Adam McQuaid shook up Tyson Jost with a crosscheck. And when McQuaid came out of the box, he found a waiting dance partner in 6-foot-5, 230-pound Russian Nikita Zadorov. McQuaid gave him a solid whipping.
That might have been the B’s second period highlight, as the Avalanche scored three times to go up 4-1.
One minute in, Krug made a bad decision to step up and try to keep a puck in the Colorado end. He didn’t but did allow a 2-on-1 Avs breakout. Nathan MacKinnon set up Nail Yakupov’s one-timer in the right circle and he ripped the shot past Rask.
At 12:37, with McQuaid in the box for that crosscheck, the Colorado power play clicked. MacKinnon fed Sven Andrighetto and his quick forehander from the left hash flew past Rask’s glove into the far side.
Then at 15:43, a turnover deep in the B’s zone by defenseman Kevan Miller was quickly turned into a goal from the right circle by Duchene for the 4-1 lead.
Through two one-sided periods, the B’s were outshot, 26-9, as they generated little offensively.
Of course, the Bruins are dealing with the absence of forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and Noel Acciari, all key pieces in the puzzle. But they need more from the guys still here.