BOSTON - The Bruins were left with regret in defeat after falling to a young, skilled, undefeated Colorado Avalanche 2-0 on Thursday night at TD Garden. Some of the failings were within their control, and some were circumstances that were going to prove difficult to fight through no matter what.
The players have no control over their team’s schedule of games, and the lack of game action since last weekend certainly caused the Bruins to look a step slow through the early proceedings against the Avs. Eventually the B’s managed to get a respectable 10 shots on net for the period, but they were admittedly sleepwalking through the first part of the game.
While the Bruins were practicing over the last three days, the Avalanche were playing games including a tight, one-goal victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto that kept their instincts razor sharp.
“There’s no doubt when you play, you get on a roll. There’s no doubt about that. We’ve been off for five days and it showed in that first period…we were a little rusty. But those aren’t excuses, those are facts and you have to work on those things. You have to be ready,” said Claude Julien. “We knew they were a fast team, and they showed it again tonight.
“We got lots of chances from the second period on, but we ran into a hot goaltender. There wasn’t much missing; take that empty-net goal out, and it’s a 1-0 game. All we needed was a goal to get ourselves going and burst that bubble, but we couldn’t get it. So I don’t think you have to overreact after a game like this. I don’t think our guys gave a poor effort, but we know we can be better.”
The Bruins also didn’t have much control over a couple of questionable calls that made an impact on the game: a 10-minute misconduct knocked Milan Lucic out for the first half of the third period after he smacked around Gabriel Landeskog at the end of the middle period, and an “embellishment” call on Loui Eriksson that video replays didn’t seem to back as the proper call.
But one area they did have control: traffic in front of the net. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 39 saves, but many of those shots didn’t have much traffic or redirections. That’s been a familiar lament among the Bruins when a lesser goalie is able to shut them down on an individual night, and that was the case against a past-his-prime Giguere.
The Avs game-winning goal was scored on a Ryan O’Reilly tipped puck in the danger zone where few Bruins were going on Thursday night. One would expect there will be much more talk about B’s in the paint moving forward after getting shut out for the first time in nearly two years.
“We could have done more. The goalie stopped us and all our good chances. We’ve got to do a better job of taking away his eyes,” said Torey Krug. “That’s something we did very well against Detroit and it’s something that we’re going to have to do better moving forward.”
The Bruins also hit a number of posts, including Chris Kelly and Johnny Boychuk in the first period, but things weren’t going well for them in the luck category either. So things ended in disappointment for essentially everyone in a Black and Gold uniform as they desperately attempt to get back into the swing of things while constantly trying to get that elusive feel for their game.
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