The Colorado Avalanche extended their winning streak to six games with a, 4-1, win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday night.
Ian Cole scored the game-winning goal in the second period of his 500th career NHL game, while Philipp Grubauer (10-5-2 record, 2.76 goals against average, .914 save percentage in 18 games played) made three saves on four shots on goal (.750 SV%) before being replaced by Pavel Francouz (7-2-0, 2.25 GAA, .931 SV% in 11 GP) late in the first period due to an injury.
Francouz stopped all 16 shots that he faced en route to the win for the Avs.
B’s goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (7-2-3, 2.22 GAA, .930 SV% in 12 GP) stopped 16 out of 19 shots faced (.842 SV%) in the loss.
The Bruins fell to 20-4-6 (46 points) on the season, but remain in command of the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, the Avalanche climbed to 19-8-2 (40 points) on the season and remained in 2nd place in the Central Division.
Boston is now 12-1-5 at home this season.
Kevan Miller (knee), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), Zach Senyshyn (lower body) and Patrice Bergeron (lower body) remained out of the lineup on Saturday.
Bergeron is likely to return on the B’s road trip.
Meanwhile, Brett Ritchie returned to the lineup after missing the last seven games (and 12 out of the last 16) with an elbow infection.
As a result, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, adjusted his lines.
For his first line, Cassidy reunited Brad Marchand with David Krejci and David Pastrnak, while moving Jake DeBrusk back to the second line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen.
Ritchie was inserted on the right side of the third line with Anders Bjork at left wing and Par Lindholm at center, while the trio of Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner was reunited.
On defense, John Moore remained in the lineup on the third pairing with Matt Grzelcyk, while Connor Clifton and Steven Kampfer joined David Backes in the press box as Boston’s only healthy scratches.
Midway through the opening frame, Moore shot the puck from the point as Wagner (3) skated through the low slot and tipped in the rubber biscuit behind Grubauer to give the Boston the first goal of the game at 13:14 of the first period.
Moore (1) and Bjork (4) had the assists on Wagner’s goal and the Bruins led, 1-0.
The B’s didn’t lead for long, however, as Valeri Nichushkin (4) pulled a loose puck to his backhand and snuck it behind Halak’s extended pad– tying the game, 1-1, in the process at 17:25.
Matt Nieto (8) and Tyson Jost (5) tallied the assists on Nichushkin’s goal.
Upon tying the game, Avalanche head coach, Jared Bednar, switched out his goaltenders after Grubauer showed signs of discomfort after making a save only moments prior.
After one period in Boston, the B’s and Avs were tied, 1-1, with the Avalanche leading in shots on goal, 9-4.
Colorado led in takeaways (6-2), giveaways (4-2) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while the Bruins led in blocked shots (5-4) and hits (18-11) entering the first intermission.
There were no penalties called in the first period as the action carried over into the middle frame.
Midway through the second period, Boston couldn’t clear their own zone.
As a result, the Avalanche went right to work on a forced turnover and zipped the puck around the horn, finally finding its way to Cole at the point whereby Cole (1) skated up to the faceoff dot and rocketed a slap shot over Halak’s glove to give Colorado their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Mark Barberio (1) and Joonas Donskoi (12) had the assists on Cole’s goal at 9:17 of the second period.
A little over nine minutes later, after Boston sustained pressure in the attacking zone for what seemed like a potentially momentum shifting couple of minutes, Colorado got a break the other direction and scored.
Andre Burakovsky (12) broke free from his own zone and sent a snap shot over Halak’s glove to make it a two-goal game at 18:21 of the second period.
Nathan MacKinnon (27) and Donskoi (13) collected the assists as the Avalanche collected a, 3-1, lead heading into the second intermission.
Through 40 minutes of play, Colorado led Boston, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 14-8, in shots on goal– including a, 5-4, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.
The Avs held the advantage in blocked shots (11-10), takeaways (10-7), giveaways (12-3) and faceoff win% (54-46) entering the third period, while the Bruins led in hits (27-23).
Once more, both clubs remained 0/0 on the power play as the first penalty of the night wasn’t called until the third period.
Early in the final frame of the game, Ryan Graves caught Kuraly with a high stick and was sent to the box at 5:54 of the third period.
Boston’s power play was powerless and the Avs killed off Graves’ minor infraction without any issues as Graves was hooked by Marchand seconds after emerging from the box and receiving a breakaway opportunity in the attacking zone.
Marchand cut a rut to the sin bin at 8:02, but Colorado’s skater advantage didn’t last long as Donskoi clipped Zdeno Chara with a high stick at 8:27 and presented both teams with 4-on-4 action for a span of 1:35 before an abbreviated 5-on-4 advantage would begin for the Bruins.
Neither team capitalized on the special teams play.
Late in the period, Avalanche captain, Gabriel Landeskog, caught Pastrnak in the face with a high stick and was assessed a minor penalty at 17:39.
With 2:21 remaining in the game and the start of yet another power play, Cassidy pulled Halak for an extra attacker– effectively making it a two-skater advantage with Landeskog in the box.
Upon exiting the box, Landeskog (5) pocketed an empty net goal, giving Colorado a three-goal lead to seal the deal on their win.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (5) had the only assist on Landeskog’s empty netter that made it, 4-1, at 19:57.
Colorado finished the night with the advantage on the scoreboard, but both teams actually tied in shots on goal, 20-20, as Boston rallied to a, 12-6, advantage in the third period alone.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche finished the night leading in blocked shots (21-10), giveaways (13-7) and faceoff win% (60-41).
Boston ended the night with the lead in hits (36-34) and went 0/3 on the power play. The Avs went 0/1.
Colorado hasn’t lost a game in regulation in Boston since March 30, 1998. The Avs are now 12-0-2 in their last 14 games in Boston.
The Avalanche ended Boston’s 17-game point streak.
As a result of the loss, the B’s are now 13-3-3 when scoring the game’s first goal this season and 4-3-3 when trailing after two periods.
The Bruins are now 1-6 in their last seven games against Colorado, including Boston’s, 4-2, loss at Pepsi Center on Oct. 10th.
Boston finished their five-game homestand 3-1-1 and will begin a four-game road trip on Monday with a matchup against the Ottawa Senators.
The Bruins then face the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning on back-to-back nights in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and in Tampa on Thursday before wrapping up their road trip in Sunrise, Florida next Saturday in a duel with the Florida Panthers.