David Krejci scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)
Apparently, the Bruins will rest when they’re dead.
And they’re far from dead.
In the final game of a brutal five-game-in-seven-day stretch, the Black and Gold put forth perhaps their most dominating effort to date, with a season-high 45 shots on Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov, while Tuukka Rask recorded his third shutout of the year (the 33rd of his career) behind a 21-stop night in a 2-0 win at the Pepsi Center.
B’s center David Krejci opened up the game’s scoring with his second goal of the season, scored 9:30 into the first period.
It would hold as the lone goal of the opening frame, and the only goal through two periods of play for that matter, as the Bruins unloaded on the Avalanche with a 23-shot second period that would have been real ugly for Colorado had it not been for the calm and relaxed presence of Varlamov in the Avalanche net.
Similar to last night’s nailbiter against the Coyotes, the Bruins were forced to cling to life to their one-goal edge, especially when Brandon Carlo, one of the club’s go-to killers, was sentenced to the box midway through the third period, but like they did all night, the Bruins continued to frustrate an Avalanche squad that never put more than seven shots on net in any period.
The Bruins finally gained breathing room with 27.2 seconds left in the game courtesy of Dominic Moore’s fourth goal of the season, an empty-net goal, to give the Bruins the 2-0 final they left the ice with.
With the victory, the Bruins finished this marathon week with 8-of-10 points, and were just 63 seconds in Montreal away from making it a 9-of-10 week at the very least. Also: the Habs are off to a straight-up ridiculous start, so perhaps it would have been best to chalk that one up at a schedule loss, anyways. In a week that could have gone so, so bad and come with a billion excuses — some of which would have been valid with multiple back-to-backs — the Bruins found a way to not only win, but not stoop down to the level of their opponents. That’s more than we could say about these B’s clubs over the last two years, by the way.
Here are four other things we learned in the win.
Dominant second period proves pivotal
When we look back on this game, I think it’s easy to say that the Bruins let the Avalanche off the hook in the first period. The Avalanche challenged the B’s at their own blue line on numerous occasions or made a bad pass, or backed off the wrong player to back off of in the opening 20, and the Bruins never really made them pay. And when that happens, you can almost guarantee that it’ll come back to haunt you. But the Bruins handled that with a second period response that included 23 shots thrown on the Avalanche net, and though it did not come with a goal, that ability to straight-up stifle what the Avalanche were able to do the other way certainly helped the Bruins establish their 60-minute long edge over the Avs.
Rask finally on board vs. Avalanche
In his sixth career head-to-head with the Avalanche, B’s netminder Tuukka Rask has finally found his first career win against Colorado. The 29-year-old did it with style, too. Behind a 21-save shutout, Rask has now won games against everybody in the NHL — including the dearly departed Atlanta Thrashers (rest in peace, Hurricane Bird Logo) — and improved to a ridiculous 10-1-0 on the season. The win also bumped Rask’s season save percentage up from a .941 to a .945. Yeah, I’d say he’s doing alright.
Kuraly, Morrow draw back into lineup
Recalled on Friday, first-year pro Sean Kuraly found the ice for the second NHL game of his career.
In a fourth-line role with Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes, the 23-year-old Kuraly put forth a stronger night than they did in his NHL debut (which is honestly to be expected, you’d think), and contributed with some positive energy and pace the other way. That said, I still think there’s significant chemistry with Schaller and Moore, and I’d hesitate to break it up for another game.
And for the first time in 10 games, Joe Morrow found himself back in the Black and Gold lineup. ‘Bout time, too.
With Morrow, it was too easy to look at his struggles in his last game played (Oct. 22 against the Canadiens) — a minus-2 rating and two penalties against (and if you remember, Morrow should have had three penalties but the refs wrongly fingered David Krejci for the high stick) — and write him off. But it also ignores what Morrow does well, which is push pace the other way with strong offensive instincts (something he most definitely did well in his two games, even without a point to his name).
Consistency, however, has been the name of Morrow’s game in terms of what he needs to do to earn an every night spot in the B’s lineup. Of course, that’ll be hard to develop if Morrow is sentenced back to the press box for another 10 games.
Let’s never do this again, OK?
Alright. I’m going to level with you here: I’m a Patriots fan, as I’m sure most of you are, too. Having to watch this snoozer of a finish instead of the Patriots vs. Seahawks — one of the few ‘must watch’ games of the NFL season — was borderline torturous. And what kind of loony league tries to go against the NFL on Sunday night? Let’s get real and have this game played at like, 5 p.m. at the absolute latest next time. Thank you. Sincerely, the guy that the NHL nor NFL probably know exists.