Despite a late comeback bid, the Bruins dropped their second straight game to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, falling, 6-3, at Pepsi Center.
Boston allowed three second-period goals to fall into a 4-1 hole, before surging back with two goals within a 1:27 span midway through the third to get within one. Strikes from Tim Schaller and Torey Krug and some dazzling stops from Anton Khudobin – who subbed in for Tuukka Rask during the final frame – gave the Bruins some hope, but two empty-netters for the Avs sealed a home-and-home sweep for Colorado.
“It wasn’t good enough. They were better than us again, second time in three days. We’ve got some work to do,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I’m not in the excuse making business. It’s a National Hockey League game and two points are two points every night. We’ve just got to be more intelligent and more focused with those decisions, whether it’s rust or not we’ve got to correct that.”
Too Little, Too Late
Down three goals past the midway point of the third, the Bruins got a jolt from their fourth line, with Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly, and Danton Heinen going to work deep in the offensive zone.
Heinen, playing in his first game of the season after being recalled from Providence on Tuesday, took the puck to the left post and jammed one at Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov. Schaller crashed the net and poked home the rebound for his first goal of the season.
Heinen was credited with an assist, giving him his first career National Hockey League point.
“Kuraly’s line got us going,” said Krug. “They’re not a flashy line, but they know what their job is and they go straight north-south game and get it behind them and go to work. It was a greasy goal and got us back in it. Got the guys excited on the bench again.”
Krug followed up just 1:27 later with his first of the season in a similar fashion. With Boston on the power play and Brad Marchand and Riley Nash battling away in front, Krug swatted at a loose puck and banged it home to bring the Bruins within a goal with 7:03 to play.
“At the end of the day, you see in the third period when we’re willing to put in the work it pays off, we were able to climb back in the game and give ourselves a chance,” said Krug. “You can try to use as many excuses as you want, but we’ve got to be more committed to battles and I’m a part of that as well.”
Second Period Struggles
The Bruins did not start well, as they landed just nine shots on goal through two periods. But a goal from Marchand with just under three minutes to play in the first tied the game, 1-1, and had Boston in a better frame of mind heading to the middle period.
The momentum, however, did not carry over. Nail Yakupov struck for his third goal in two games against the Bruins, exactly one minute into the second, to put Colorado ahead, 2-1. Tallies from Sven Andrighetto and Matt Duchene later in the period opened up a 4-1 lead for the Avalanche.
“It’s a sign of weak teams, letting things snowball. I was a big part of that, I was terrible in the second period,” said Krug, who was a minus-3. “Turnovers, penalties, every time I touched the ice something bad happened. I’ll take the blame for the second period.
“Guys are battling, [Adam McQuaid's] fighting, my D partner’s fighting, Tuukka’s making saves…leaving guys out to dry and I’ll take full blame for that.”