As a tradition it seems the Colorado Avalanche visited the Boston Bruins for a holiday matinee in hopes of continuing their streak of no regulation losses in Beantown which stretched all the way back to the previous century. All good things must come to an end as sloppy play ended up thwarting the Avalanche in a 5-1 defeat.
Momentum was clearly on Boston’s side to begin this contest as they drew a power play which the Avalanche subsequently killed but continued building a 21-9 shot advantage over the first 20 minutes. After a terrible shift buy the Avalanche in their own zone with multiple failed attempts at breaking out Boston got on the board after the puck deflected right to an open David Pastrnak for the game’s first score at 17:30.
In the second period Boston picked up right where they left off. Taking advantage of another lengthy shift in the Colorado zone they exploited poor coverage on Patrice Bergeron at 8:01 as he was able to gather his his own rebound and put the puck past Darcy Kuemper on the second try.
It took past the halfway mark for the Avalanche to finally get on the board but they cut the deficit 2-1 on power play goal scored by Nathan MacKinnon in a new position shooting from the middle of the ice.
The Avalanche were only back in the game briefly, however, as the Bruins scored two quick goals before the end of the second period. The first aided by an icing and then poor coverage from Kurtis MacDermid allowed Pastrnak to score his second of the game at 14:35. And then from the perennially available yet always scores on the Avalanche Jake DeBrusk at 15:42 which trickled just through Kuemper. The Bruins held a 4-1 lead and full control at that point.
For good measure the Avalanche conceded a power play goal to Charlie Coyle banked off the back of Kuemper at 4:04. Mercifully the Bruins stopped scoring at that point but the Avalanche couldn’t find the back of the net again either. A 5-1 final was how this contest ended up and the Avalanche happy to move on to their next stop on the road trip.
Although the Avalanche have dominated many games already this season they obviously won’t have that type of success or the bounces go their way every game. What is important to recognize is the bad habits that popped up and work to correct them. Lost battles, bad clearing attempts and breakouts, flying the zone and poor coverage were all symptoms of the hole the Avalanche put themselves in and the loss. The second half of the regular season is going to be largely a meaningless drag but the Avalanche have to find their motivation and focus to continue executing good habits.
Darcy Kuemper did what he could to keep the Avalanche in this game but after facing 36 shots through two periods the dam broke a little. The third and fourth goals against were not his strongest looks but the damage had been done by the rest of the team at that point. Still, Kuemper has had an incredible 2022 thus far and should be a difference maker in the bulk of the starts moving forward.
One final game on the road trip visiting the Detroit Red Wings at 5:30 MT on Wednesday, February 23rd.