AVALANCHE (2-1-1) at BRUINS (2-2-0)
This is the lone meeting between the clubs in 2009-10. Last season, the teams opened their respective campaigns in Colorado, where the Bruins eked out a 5-4 victory. David Krejci scored the game-winner with only 2:36 left in regulation.
Despite being picked by most "experts" to finish near the basement of the NHL standings, Colorado is off to a solid 2-1-1 start. The Avs played well in their most recent game, a 4-3 shootout loss at Chicago. Meanwhile, Boston has experienced difficulty putting together 60-minute efforts. The Bruins were missing in action for 50 minutes on Saturday night before rallying for a 4-3 shootout win against the New York Islanders. Forty-eight hours earlier, they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks.
This is the third of a seven-game road trip for Colorado (0-1-1). The Avs failed to come away with any points last Thursday in a 3-2 loss at Nashville. But they headed in the right direction on Saturday, earning a point in a hostile building against the Blackhawks. The shootout lasted a whopping nine rounds before Andrew Ladd beat Craig Anderson
to end it.
"I think that was the longest shootout I was in," Anderson said. "The pressure starts to build. I'll take it game by game. My job is to give the team a chance to win."
Disappointed with his team's recent efforts, Boston coach Claude Julien had his team practice on Sunday despite the come-from-behind win the night before. However, Julien is optimistic that the Bruins are on the right track.
"I thought we played with a lot more emotion in the third period (on Saturday)," Julien said. "I think we can expect a lot from a lot of players. We've had a bunch of strikes against us to start the season. We've had a lot of things that have given us a challenge. We've got to fight our way through it. The positive thing is I think this team has a lot of potential to be a lot better, and it will be."
Avs winger Wojtek Wolski has four goals in his first four games and is one of four players on the roster to already have five points; Milan Hejduk
, Kyle Quincey
and Paul Stastny
are the others.
Marc Savard is off to a terrific start for the Bruins, as the playmaking center has a pair of goals and three assists in four games. Boston defenseman Matt Hunwick has two goals on three shots.
Avs right wing David Jones
is out with a bruised chest, while defenseman Tom Preissing is still recovering from off-season knee surgery. He is expected back later this month or early November.
Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman (upper body) is doubtful after suffering an injury against the Islanders during the second period on Saturday.
Wolski, who was benched in the third period of Thursday's loss at Nashville, responded against Chicago with a pair of goals in 23:18 of ice time. The Bruins have allowed five goals on 16 power plays and have scored only once with the man advantage in their last 12 opportunities.
It will be interesting to see how the Bruins respond after being forced to practice on Sunday. Clearly, the team has had issues with putting forth 60-minute efforts, and Julien wants that to change quickly.
-- Brian Compton, NHL.com