Bruins dealt first loss of season, fall to Avalanche
Dreams of an 82-0-0 season for the Bruins will have to wait for another year. Boston (2-1-0) fell, 2-0, to Colorado (4-0-0) at TD Garden Thursday as the Avalanche staked their claim as one of the darkhorses in the Western Conference this season with an impressive road win. Backup goaltender Jean-Sebastian Giguere (39 saves) recorded his 37th career shutout, but first ever against the B’s while Tuukka Rask (28 saves) was the tough luck loser considering Colorado’s second goal was an empty-netter by Matt Duchene with 26 seconds left.
Not having played a game since last Saturday definitely affected the Bruins and the Avalanche looked much fresher having played in Toronto on Tuesday. Boston was unlucky too as Chris Kelly and Johnny Boychuk both hit the post in the second period. Shawn Thornton fought Patrick Bordeleau and Milan Lucic wanted to drop the gloves with Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog but he wouldn’t oblige. Lucic was called for a 10-minute misconduct that Bruins head coach Claude Julien labeled “soft.”
The power play was the difference as Boston’s moved the puck well but couldn’t convert (0-for-2) while Colorado went 1-for-3. Ryan O’Reilly tipped in Andre Benoit’s shot from the point with 40 seconds left in the first period. Duchene deserved a goal after not one but two of his shots (on the same play) went off the post earlier in the third period. After three games at the Garden to start the season, Boston hits the road for one game: at Columbus (2-1) on Saturday afternoon (2, NESN) before they return to face Detroit (2-2) on Monday (1, NESN) for a special Columbus Day matinee game.
What they’ll be saying: Julien and multiple players said they didn’t want to make it an excuse but it is a fact that the long layoff hurt the B’s. Young defensemen Matt Bartkowski has been a healthy scratch for all three games despite Julien saying before the season that he would rotate with Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton. It’s hard to see Krug-the power-play engine-taken out of the lineup and Hamilton has been alright. Bartkowski is too good to sit this much so good luck Claude figuring this out (granted it’s a nice problem to have). Likewise, it’ll be interesting to see when backup goaltender Chad Johnson (the other one, jokers) gets his first start in a Bruins uniform. The best bet is when Boston has a back-to-back (Oct. 23 and 24) but they also have four games in a week starting on Saturday so he’s bound to make an appearance at some point. Let’s salute Giguere, who won the Conn Smyth in 2003 (playoff MVP) when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup the first time. Great trivia: he’s the last Hartford Whaler still playing in the NHL. He was Hartford’s first round pick in 1995.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat reporter Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate