I haven't seen the Bruins play much this year so I was surprised that they were both willing and able to play at the pace the Avs like. Both teams were flying through the neutral zone and hitting hard early after being chastised by their respective coaches for being "flat" on Thursday. The Avs got the first goal thanks to some bounces. Kevin Shattenkirk fired it from the point and it bounced of Paul Stastny, parked in front of the net, and then off Dennis Seidenberg and into the net. So that's how you beat Tim Thomas, huh? Boston only revved up their game after that and started hitting the Avs and peppering Craig Anderson with shots. They tied it up when Mark Recchi fired the puck off John-Michael Liles and it bounced into Ryan O'Byrne and Brad Marchand and past Anderson. A couple minutes later, O'Byrne took a delay of game penalty. The Avs were victim of another bunch of crazy bounces that turned around Anderson and put the puck right of Milan Lucic's stick for an easy goal. The Bruins owned the rest of the period, getting another power play (ROB again, disaster of a period for him) and finishing with a total of 19 shots. The Avs were lucky escape only down by one.
The second period saw the start of the Bruins playing some of the most perfect lead-protecting play I've seen. The Avs pushed the play as much as they could but Boston was all over them, crowding puck carriers and getting in shooting and passing lanes. When the Avs did get a good chance, Thomas was there to stop it. And when they got a chance to extend their lead, they didn't miss it. The Avs gave up two 2 on 1's during the period and the B's scored on both. Marchand and Recchi face Liles on the first one. This one was misplayed in my opinion. Anderson came out to challenge Marchand so aggressively that he had no chance of making a save if Recchi got it. Yet Liles didn't focus on taking the pass away but tried to put pressure on Marchand. Marchand passed it, of course, and Recchi scored one of the easiest goals in his extended career. Either Liles or Andy has to play that one different because the way they played it guaranteed the goal. The next goal wasn't anybody's fault especially. David Krejci and Lucic just played in perfectly with Looch getting the goal. It would have been nice if Andy saved it but it was a nice shot. Other highlights of the period include Marc Savard taking another headshot, this one inadvertent by Matt Hunwick along the boards. Chris Stewart also had a penalty called on him even though the ref who called it had his back turned to the play when the alleged penalty happened. Even the Altidudes made a comment about it.
Sacco had Peter Budaj start the third period but he didn't get much work for a while as the Avs generated a lot of pressure during the first five minutes. Shattenkirk flipped a backhand on net that slipped by Thomas and gave the Avs some life. The goal sure didn't shake Thomas up any though because he was fantastic for the next few minutes, stonewalling the Avs on a ton of chances, especially during a power play they looked very good on. But the energy slowly drained out of them as they couldn't get one past Timmy and the Bruins scored the next one. Patrice Bergeron slid one on net from his knees that bounced in off Liles' skate. The game slowed down after that. Seidenberg took a double minor for high sticking and Sacco pulled Budaj. The Avs tried to get something going 6 on 4 but Marchand scored an empty net goal. Cody McLeod thought he scored with fifteen seconds to go but it was waved off because of intent to blow. And just like that, the Avs have lost their playoff spot. Minnesota and San Jose play each other today and both sit only one point back of the Avs.
Kyle Cumiskey will be having nightmares about Thomas I think. Twice he was alone in front of Thomas with a potentially game changing goal on his stick and twice Thomas stoned him.
- Brutal game for Liles and ROB who were a combined -6. Seeing as they are the only decent defense pair for the Avs, when they play bad it's going to be tough for the Avs to win.
- Stastny scored his 100th goal for the Avs.
- Jones, Stastny, Stewart
- Stoa, Duchene, Hejduk
- Porter, Galiardi, Winnik
- Koci, Dupuis, McLeod
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Shattenkirk, Hunwick
- Cumiskey, Foote
The Avs play the Blues on Monday.