The Bruins started the All-Star break early, relinquishing a third-period lead and suffering a 3-2 shootout loss to the Avalanche Wednesday (box).
The shootout loss gave the Bruins three of a possible four points on their two-game road trip and gave them a 25-16-7 record at the break.
Ryan O’Reilly scored with 1:45 remaining in regulation, as Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov early. Nathan MacKinnon scored the only goal of the shootout, with Reilly Smith, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron all failing to score for the B’s.
The Bruins will now break for the All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday. Patrice Bergeron is the Bruins’ only participant. They will return to game action a week from Thursday against the Islanders.
Here are five things we learned Wednesday:
MARCHAND RETURNS AND SCORES
Brad Marchand punctuated his return from a two-game suspension with a big goal to give the B’s the lead in the third period.
Marchand, who sat out Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s contest in Dallas for slew-footing Derick Brassard last week, took a feed from David Krejci during a third-period line change and fired a wrist shot past Semyon Varlamov to break a 1-1 tie. The goal was Marchand’s team-leading 13th of the season.
The veteran left wing also took a roughing penalty early in the third period and logged over two minutes of shorthanded time as the Bruins were carried by strong penalty killing for the second straight night.
HAMILTON FINALLY DROPS THE GLOVES
An early third-period fracas between multiple members of each side brought about something we’ve yet to see: Dougie Hamilton’s bare hands.
Hamilton earned his first career fighting major as he dropped the gloves with fellow 2011 top-10 pick Gabriel Landeskog. Both players landed shots in the bout, which ended when Hamilton lost his balance while swinging for a gigantic right.
Hamilton fought twice during his four OHL seasons. His first NHL fight came in his 154th regular-season game.
PENALTY KILL SHINES AGAIN
A night after killing off six penalties, the Bruins put their penalty-killing abilities to the test when they took three second-period minor penalties in succession that left them shorthanded for a 4:58 span from 9:34 to 14:32, including a pair of five-on-threes.
Not only did the Bruins hold Colorado off the scoreboard during that stretch, but they actually limited Grade-A chances. In the nearly five-minute shorthanded stretch, the Bruins allowed only five shots on goal.
The B’s held the Avalanche to 0-for-5 on the power play on the night.
RASK GOES BACK-TO-BACK
After Rask gave up just one goal Tuesday in Dallas, the Bruins went back to him for the second game of a back-to-back. Rask appeared to have repeated the feat until Ryan O’Reilly tied the game at two goals apiece with Varlamov pulled late in the game and an extra attacker on the ice.
Rask stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced on the night, coming up big late in the game as Colorado dominated play. He was also helped out in overtime when Brad Stuart got a clean look and hit the post.
This week marked Boston’s ninth set of back-to-backs this season. The Bruins have started Rask in both games in four of them.
BRUINS ALLOW ANOTHER BUZZER-BEATER
The Bruins controlled play in the first period, but it seemed as though they’d head to the intermission scoreless. In hindsight, they would have gladly taken that.
Old friend Jarome Iginla slipped free of Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg in front of the Bruins net in the final second of the period to jam a rebound past Tuukka Rask with 0.3 seconds remaining.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was. The last time the teams met, Daniel Briere slipped away from Matt Bartkowski and scored the game-winning goal for Colorado in the final second of the teams’ Oct. 13 meeting.