This was not a fun game against the Boston Bruins. If you’re a Colorado Avalanche fan, this game possessed everything bad that could happen in a hockey game. Injuries, frustrating play, and confusing officiating. However, no one expected it to go much differently.
The Avalanche were incredibly shorthanded entering tonight’s matchup and left it even more so, which is the only thing you didn’t want to happen as an Avalanche fan. It wasn’t all bad, but this recap will be as fun to read as it is to write.
The game started off well for the Avs. They held their own against the top team in the league and on top of that, it was pretty entertaining hockey. That was until the Bruins opened up the scoring 13 minutes into the contest with a patented David Pastrnak one-timer on the power play. We won’t talk about the call to lead to said power play though. Brad Marchand was the one who fed Pastrnak through the seam when Jayson Megna drifted out of position and Pastrnak did what he does best to put the Bruins on top.
The Bruins did not waste much time adding to their lead. Five minutes later, Trent Frederic would bury his first of two on the night. Charlie McAvoy and Pavel Zacha ran a nice give-and-go play along the boards, which Nathan MacKinnon didn’t follow, allowing McAvoy to walk down the slot and put a shot on Pavel Francouz that Frederic cleaned up.
Shortly into the second period, Francouz struggled to control a shot from the slot. One trickled behind Francouz and Jake DeBrusk cleaned up the rebound. Fortunately for the Avs, DeBrusk knocked the net off before the puck entered the goal, and since he wasn’t forced into it by an Av the goal was waived off.(I’m pretty sure he kicked the puck too so I doubt the goal would have stood either way).
Colorado didn’t do themselves any favors on most of Boston’s goals, however, they never actively shot themselves in the foot. That was not the case with Boston’s third goal of the game. Jacob MacDonald gift-wrapped a puck for David Krejci to give to fellow David, and countryman, Pastrnak for a clear breakaway, another situation that Pastrnak does not often miss on. To no surprise, he converted and put the Bruins up by three with 15 minutes left in the second period.
The rest of the second period was incredibly mundane. Neither team had dangerous chances during open play and it began to feel like they were both content to pack it in. Even when with three minutes remaining in the period, Thomas Nosek drew a penalty shot. He caught MacDonald sleeping and the Avalanche defender was forced to take a penalty, which was turned into a penalty shot. The penalty shot itself was a reflection of this period after the Pastrnak goal, bland. Nosek took the puck in and was easily denied by Francouz on the forehand-backhand move.
Things came back to life for the Avalanche in the third. At this point, many were just hoping for Linus Ullmark’s shutout to end for the sake of pride. Andrew Cogliano, man of the people, delivered. Jean-Luc Foudy, who had another eventful night, forced a turnover right to Cogliano in the middle of the slot and he buried it to make it 3-1 with a little over half of the period remaining.
This gave the Avalanche life and they pushed the hardest they had all game. Unfortunately, it was all for nothing when the Avalanche couldn’t convert on their opportunities. With five minutes left in the game, a mistake from the Avs top guys led to Frederic’s second goal of the game. Rantanen and MacKinnon failed to get the puck deep in the Bruins’ zone and Cale Makar was caught being too aggressive on the play. It led to a two-on-one with Frederic and Taylor Hall that they capitalized on to put the game away for good.
If that wasn’t enough, only 10 seconds later the Bruins got another goal. Jake DeBrusk buried a rebound off a Derek Forbert point shot to make the game 5-1. The goal was DeBrusk’s 100th, so it wasn’t entirely pointless. That goal would be the final of the game as both teams coasted to the finish line.
As I said, this was not a fun game. But it was to no one's surprise. The Avalanche were severely lacking in manpower going into a game against the top team in the league who hadn’t (and still hasn’t) lost a game at home this season. On the whole, there isn’t much to take from this game. I would say Boston fans are unbearable, but we already knew that, so there’s not much to say here.
I thought the Avs stars were severely disappointing. MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Makar were lackadaisical the whole night outside of a stretch in the third when the team felt like it still had life, and even then it was just not good enough. They were constantly flubbing pucks and clearly not giving their all, which is what the team needed to win tonight. Not a big deal though. Makar and Rantanen haven’t been as dominant in the past few as we’ve seen normally, but they seldom go quiet for long.
Foudy continued to show his stuff. The kid is getting the tightest whistle in the game, and when you’re a smaller guy that prevents you from doing a lot of things well defensively. Hopefully that gets fixed soon because he can definitely be an asset to this Avalanche team while they’re dealing with the injury wave. He’s been winning puck races and blowing by guys with his speed and he has the willingness to go to the dirty areas. In one of his first shifts of the game he cut to the net on a rush and struck iron, so he clearly is willing to get down and dirty to produce, which is something that will eventually lead to results. Foudy also has a knack for pissing guys off. I don’t know how he does it but he’s obviously good at it if A.J. Greer is gonna take random runs at him, and hopefully he’s okay from the hit too.
The only other news from this game is Artturi Lehkonen leaving the game in the first period after getting body-slammed by Charlie McAvoy. Bednar said in his postgame that he “has no update on the severity of Arturri Lehkonen’s upper-body injury”, per Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. Hopefully it’s not too severe because Lehkonen is an integral part of this Avalanche team, and they can not afford any more injuries to key guys.
The Avalanche take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 5 p.m. on Monday. As always we’ll have you covered at Mile High Hockey. Have a good weekend.