Thursday, October 15, 2015
As Expected, Things Weren't Quite As Bad As They Seemed In Regards to the Bruins This Season
It is only one game so while I'm not quite ready to get the Duck Boats ready for the Bruins next summer, you have to admit that facing a must-win in game 4 of 2015-16, they responded just how you'd want them to: with a resounding 6-2 blowout victory tonight at Pepsi Center vs. Colorado (1-2-0). Boston (1-3-0) had six different goal-scorers (including Tyler Randell in his NHL debut) while former BC star Tommy Cross also made his first appearance in the NHL. It'll take some time to erase their pitiful start to this campaign and conveniently this started at 10 pm here so probably many fans didn't catch all that much of it. Regardless, this was a huge step in the right direction for the Black and Gold.
Speaking of the Heights, Cross' old college roommate Jimmy Hayes (1 goal, 3 assists) finally showed up in a big way with a career-high four points. Also, backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (20 saves) won his first start as a Bruin. The Avalanche looked like the Bruins of last week: disorganized, uninspired and full of mistakes. This was never really that competitive as Boston got out to a 2-0 lead in the first and 5-0 advantage in the second before Colorado scored the first of two shaky goals. No matter, the B's played so well for the first two frames that for a change, nobody will remember those brief lapses (aside from the coaches of course).
The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Lightning on Monday and we all know how that turned out. This was a change for the better since they basically put the Avs away before they could have a chance to respond. Kevan Miller made it 1-0 (his 1st goal of the season) at 5:49 of the first period with a blast from the point that went bar down on Semyon Varlamov. Brett Connolly had missed the net on a gorgeous feed from David Krejci but at least he tracked down the puck and gave it to Zdeno Chara who passed to Miller. Just 2:22 after that, Hayes was on the doorstep to put in a rebound. His first goal as a Bruin was assisted by Chara and Colin Miller.
The second period had been a major issue (like so many other aspects of their whole operation) in the first three games but Boston at least temporarily cleaned that up this evening. Randell tipped in Adam McQuaid's shot from the point at 3:46. The third line continued to gel as Chris Kelly finished a passing sequence with his linemates Ryan Spooner and Hayes after the latter had picked off the puck on a poor clearing attempt by Tyson Barrie. You know that things are going well when Kelly is scoring highlight-reel backhander goals. Spooner turned it into a laugher at 15:32 with a one-timer that beat Varlamov high and forced him to get pulled in favor of the immortal Reto Berra.
David Pastrnak got nabbed for a high-sticking double-minor and the Avalanche received another gift as Chara accidentally poked the puck in at 18:31 when he tried to take it away from Gabriel Landeskog. One of Colorado's fine young players (he's only 22), that was Landeskog's fourth goal of the season (not that he had to do much to get it). Gustavsson wasn't tested much besides an Avalanche power-play right at the beginning of the game but their second goal represented his only real mistake. He let a weak shot by John Mitchell (his 3rd goal of the season) beat him at 11:20 of the third period but no matter. Head coach Patrick Roy took Berra out with over three minutes left in regulation (as he likes to do) and Hayes assisted on Krejci's empty-netter at 18:31.
Normally I would completely dismiss the Coyotes (3-0-0), Boston's next opponent on Saturday night (10, NESN), but they have gotten off to a surprisingly great start to the season. Tonight, they blanked the Ducks (0-2-1) 4-0 thanks to rookie Anthony Duclair's 1st NHL hat trick. It's only a two-game road trip so the Bruins would like nothing more than to return home that much stronger with a pair of wins. Tuukka Rask will be back in net and hopefully his teammates can use the confidence they must have gained tonight as a springboard to put that awful start behind them as soon as possible.