Avs top unit outpaces B’s top line as win fast paced thriller
The Bruins faced off against the Avalanche in Wednesday Night. Both teams have one of the top two best lines in the NHL. Boston has Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak who have combined for 68 points, while Colorado have Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen and their 69 points. From the opening puck drop til 14:10 of the first period there was no whistle, just back and forth, end to end from both teams. The Bruins had the best chance to score first when Pastrnak hit iron around 13:20. He was set up alone in front of Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov, and cleanly beat him but hit the crossbar. The Avs top line struck first when a miscommunication behind the net between defenseman Zdeno Chara and goalie Jaroslav Halak led to a Chara turnover that Rantanen fed to Landeskog who buried it past Halak. 1-0 Avalanche. The Bruins would hit the post 3 more times before a Power Play goal by Pastrnak would tie it at 1-1 @ 16:43. Boston forward Jake DeBrusk would catch an errant MacKinnon pass at the red line and race in alone and beat Varlamov with :37.9 left to go in the first. 2-1 Bruins after 1.
The 2nd was just as frantic as the 1st. The Bruins Power Play was called on again @ 1:17 when Colin Wilson was called for Hooking. The red hot PP connected again on some tic tac toe passing when DeBrusk scored again on a tip of a Pastrnak shot from the point. 3-1 Bruins @ 3:05. The back and forth pace caught up to the B’s when Pastrnak was whistled for Hooking Mark Barbiero @ 7:52. This gave the Avs a chance to get moving. MacKinnon would fed Rantanen on a cross ice pass, Rantanen would walk in and snipe one past Halak from the right face off dot. 3-2 Bruins. Bergeron would be called for Hooking on Rantanen who would also be called for Embellishment on the play @ 19:11. The 2nd would close out with the teams in a 4 on 4. Shots were tied at 14 a piece for the two periods.
The 3rd started with the carried over 4 on 4, which had a chance for each team, but to no avail. An Avalanche 2-1 with Matt Grzelcyk defending had Halak make the initial stop on a Matt Calvert wrist shot. A funny bounce and a head’s up play by Calvert, who spun around and swiped the lose puck past Halak tied the game at 3-3 @ 2:11. Defenseman Ian Cole broke up the Bruins forecheck at his blueline, Rantanen picked it up and raced into the Bruins offensive zone with a 3 on 2. He slid the pass over to MacKinnon on his right who blasted the go ahead goal past Halak @ 9:02. 4-3 Avs for their 2nd lead of the night. Colorado’s PP did the trick again, with Krecji off for Holding Tyson Jost @ 13:40. Jost would backhand the puck through Halak’s pads giving the Avs a 2 goal cushion @ 15:39. The Bruins would pull Halak with more than 3 minutes remaining. Good pressure by the Bruins with the extra skater but Colorado was up to it. Bergeron was called for Hooking @ 18:57 negating the man advantage from the empty net. Colorado’s Alexander Kerfoot would tip a Carl Soderberg shot past Halak making it 6-3 Avs with :15 remaining.
Zdeno Chara left the game in the first period with a lower body injury, the B’s weren’t quite the same after that despite having the led early into the 2nd period. The league’s top line showed why tonight as Landeskog, MacKinnon, and Rantanen combined for 6 points. The Bruins seemed to run out of gas as the 3rd period went along, whether the infamous altitude of the Mile High City took the wind out of their sails or shaky defensive play combined with penalties did the B’s in. Overall the Avs outshot the B’s 25-23 and won the face-off battle 59% to 41%. Both teams had exceptional Power Plays with Boston going 2 for 3 and Colorado going 3 for 3. This one was as billed, with both squads getting production from their 2nd lines. The Avs just had a little more left in the tank on this one.
– Jason Scales, WTF Sports Contributor
Edited by Scott Edwards