Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports

Bruins hope to make winning adjustments vs. Avalanche

Ty Anderson
October 11, 2017 - 7:29 pm

Monday’s 4-0 beatdown at the hands of an Avalanche club that finished last year with the NHL’s worst record left the Bruins searching for answers, and rightfully so.

The B’s offense was borderline nonexistent, their defense had countless breakdowns, and Tuukka Rask allowed at least two goals he’d certainly like to have back.

But the good news is that the Bruins won’t have to wait long to answer for that no-show, as they’ll kick off their three-game road trip with a head-to-head with those same Avs.

“We want to prove that we’re a better team than we showed Monday afternoon in Boston, and we want to play to our standard,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after the morning skate. “It’s 82 games a year you want to play to your standard. We feel we’re a good hockey team, and if we do [play to our standard], we’ll win our share of games.”

For Cassidy’s squad, that begins with more of an impact from the team’s top six, which combined for just nine of the club’s 29 shots on goal in the blowout loss.

“Clearly [there is] a lot of skill up there, guys that we rely on, and then some young kids that are put in a position because we believe they can do the job up there,” Cassidy said of his top two lines. “For [the young kids] it’s about learning the league and being consistent, for the other guys it’s bringing it every night because they’re our go-to guys.”

“[Monday] was one of those games where I was making some bad decisions and I was really fighting the puck a bit,” Brad Marchand said. “It’s one you have to learn from. The good thing about this game is you have tomorrow. You put it behind you and work to get better. That was a learning experience and one that I’d like to forget. But that’s hockey.”

But with that top six missing its best player, Patrice Bergeron, for at least one more game, Cassidy is also leaning towards the idea of adding some finishing power to his fourth line, as the Danton Heinen will suit up for his first NHL game of the season.

The 22-year-old Heinen was an unfortunate victim of the numbers game in training camp, but continued his AHL pace upon his assignment, with an assist in the P-Bruin 5-2 victory over the Thunderbirds last season, and has impressed Cassidy with his ability to play more of a two-way game during his preseason appearances.

“He’ll go with [Sean] Kuraly and [Tim] Schaller on the right side and we’ll see how that fits for him,” Cassidy said. “I saw a growth in his game in terms of being able to play not just with a skilled line-rush line, he showed us that in the last [preseason] game in Chicago. He was winning pucks below the goal line, and making plays from there, so that’s the type of line they are. He’ll add a little skill to that line, maybe a little finish, but shouldn’t get in their way either in terms of playing a north-south game.”

Heinen skated in eight NHL games last season, with zero points and seven shots on goal, but finished his year with 14 goals and 44 points in 64 games with the P-Bruins, along with an impressive nine goals and 18 points in 17 AHL playoff games.

It will be a rematch in the crease, too, as the Bruins’ Rask and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov are the expected starters for tonight’s game.

Rask stopped just 19 of the 22 shots thrown his way in Monday’s 4-0 loss, and enters action with a .882 save percentage on the year, while Varlamov has yet to allow a goal at even-strength this season, and has stopped all but two of 68 shots against thus far.

In addition to the injured Bergeron, forward Austin Czarnik and Paul Postma will sit as the Bruins' healthy scratches, while forward Ryan White also remains with the club after agreeing to a professional tryout on Tuesday morning.  

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins

Brad Marchand - Riley Nash - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Anders Bjork

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - Frank Vatrano

Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly - Danton Heinen

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Kevan Miller - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

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