After an embarrassing loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, the Colorado Avalanche were going to have to do their best to bounce back and return to their winning ways. This afternoon, they hosted the Boston Bruins for their second of six matinee games for the year.
Everything seemed to be going well for the Avs, as Paul Stastny recorded his 100th NHL goal to give the Avs an early lead. Stastny’s goal came two minutes into the first, off a shot from Kevin Shattenkirk.
That was the highlight of the afternoon for the Avs, as it was all downhill from here.
At the 9:20 mark in the first, Brad Marchand scored to tie the game at one. Marchand’s goal was just one of four points the Bruins forward would record for the game.
Three minutes later, Avs defenseman Ryan O’Byrne was called for a delay-of-game penalty, and it took the Bruins only twenty seconds into the power-play to score. Milan Lucic found himself in a position where it was very easy to tip the puck past Avs goalie Craig Anderson.
The Bruins controlled most of the first period, as they outshot the Avs 19-8, and had the lead going into the first intermission.
Although the Avs would outshoot the Bruins 14-9 in the second, the period belonged to the Bruins, as they were able to score two more goals to extend the lead to three.
Marc Recchi scored his 10th goal of the year at the 14:44 mark, and Lucic got his second of the game, 19th of the year, at the 19:04 in the second.
The Avs were in desperate need of some sort of spark to get things moving in their favor, as Coach Joe Sacco pulled Anderson and let backup Peter Budaj start the third period.
By pulling Anderson, it seemed that the Avs as a team received the message that they weren’t playing well, as Shattenkirk scored 1:41 in the third. The Pepsi Center came back to life and it seemed that the Avs had a chance to comeback and tie the game.
Those dreams were shattered at 9:56 when Patrice Bergeron (16) scored a goal that went off the skate of Avs defenseman John-Michael Liles.
After the fifth goal-against, many fans in the seats made their way towards the exit, knowing that the Avs were done for.
The Avs were fortunate enough to get a four-minute power-play at the end of the period when Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg hit Avs forward Ryan Stoa in the face with his stick. Sacco pulled Budaj in hopes to get a couple of goals on a six-on-four advantage. The only person taking advantage of the empty net was Marchand, as he scored his second of the game and 12th of the year.
At the end of the game, the Avs came off the bench to huddle around Budaj to signify that everything was alright, but Budaj skated past everyone and headed into the locker room.
The Avs looked terrible all game long, even though they scored the first goal of the game and had the potential to comeback. They were flat all game long and allowed the Bruins to dictate the flow and speed of the game.
Sacco explained last year that the Avs just need to stick to their identity in order to wins games. For the past three to four games, the Avs have been anything but their identity and have not been using their speed to their advantage. Teams are using the Avs speed to exploit their weaknesses and attack after the Avs make a mistake.
The Avs are looking miserable as they have two more games before the All-Star break. Something needs to happen to give this team a boost, as they lost forward Tomas Fleischmann for the rest of the season to a blood clot.
Peter Forsberg skated with the team today and is thinking about making another return to the NHL. Forsberg might not be the knight in shining armor to help this young team out, but he could be a catalyst to give this youthful team a boost to returning back to their true identity.
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Written by Adam Lanning