Final, Bruins 2-0: That’s it, and that’s all. The Bruins have extended their winning streak to 11 games, and they have clinched a playoff spot.
A brilliant performance from Chad Johnson is the biggest reason the B’s will skate away victorious.
Third period, 19:21, Bruins 2-0: The Avalanche came after the Bruins pretty hard in the last few seconds, but Chad Johnson came up big. He made a couple of saves on Gabe Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly to keep Colorado off the board — for now.
Third period, 17:48, Bruins 2-0: So far, the Avalanche have been able to keep the puck in the Boston end for the most part, but they broken through. The Colorado net remains empty, as it has for the last 2:48.
Third period, 15:00, Bruins 2-0: The Colorado net is empty.
Third period, 13:00, Bruins 2-0: More good work from the Bruins on the penalty kill, and they’ve killed off yet another Colorado power play.
By my count, the Avs were only able to muster one shot on goal during the man-advantage, which would be their first of the period.
Third period, 10:40, Bruins 2-0: Once again, the Bruins will have to kill off a penalty.
Shawn Thornton is going to the penalty box for holding, and the B’s PK will look for kill No. 3 this game.
Third period, 7:42, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins had a chance to open the lead to three, but a 2-on-0 turned into a 2-on-1, and Ryan O’Reilly made a great play.
Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith appeared to have a breakaway with Marchand having an open shot if he wanted it. He hesitated just for a second before passing to Smith. That hesitation was just enough for O’Reilly to get back and get a stick in the passing lane and break up the play.
Third period, 5:00, Bruins 2-0: The best chance of the third period so far belongs to the Bruins.
Torey Krug tried to put a shot on goal from the right point that was blocked just inside the blue line. The puck trickled into the slot for Loui Eriksson who whirled and put a shot on net that was stopped in front.
Third period, 0:01, Bruins 2-0: The third period is underway.
End second period, Bruins 2-0: The NHL’s best third-period team will take a two-goal lead into the second intermission.
Carl Soderberg’s power-play goal pushed the lead to two, and the B’s are up 2-0 after 40 minutes. Chad Johnson has made 24 saves through two periods.
Second period, 17:30, Bruins 2-0: Another good shift for the Bruins’ first line, as they’re starting to find their legs and gain some offensive zone time.
David Krejci just narrowly missed a chance in front as the play was broken up before he could get a shot off.
Second period, 13:11, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins now have themselves a two-goal lead.
Carl Soderberg just curled in the right faceoff circle with the puck and ripped a wrist shot up and over the left shoulder of Semyon Varlamov and underneath the crossbar. Just a vicious wrist shot that gives Boston a 2-0 lead.
Second period, 12:25, Bruins 1-0: Gabriel Landeskog just caught Andrej Meszaros with a hip check, but the puck wasn’t nearby, so Landeskog is going to the penalty box, and the Bruins get a power play.
Second period, 11:49, Bruins 1-0: Chad Johnson is having a really nice night so far.
The Bruins goalie just made a big save on Jan Hejda after the Colorado defenseman had jumped into the slot, which is where Matt Duchene found him. Hejda tried to tip the puck by Johnson, but the goalie got his blocker on the puck at the same time and took away the chance.
Second period, 9:32, Bruins 1-0: Just as the Bruins start to slow down the Avalanche, the Avs get free and get one of their best scoring chances of the game.
Max Talbot won the puck just outside the Boston blue line and got himself a breakaway. His backhand shot was stopped by Chad Johnson, though.
Second period, 7:04, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins just tried to turn the tables on Colorado with the speed game.
The Patrice Bergeron line almost netted its second goal of the night when Reilly Smith attempted to connect with Bergeron as Bergeron drove the net. Smith’s pass was on point, but Bergeron’s redirection went high and over the net.
Second period, 5:13, Bruins 1-0: Boston is starting to get some sustained offensive zone time, which is allowing them to get the cycle game going.
That just led to their latest scoring chance, as Milan Lucic won the puck below the goal line and got it David Krejci in front. Krejci wheeled and put a backhand shot on net, but Semyon Varlamov made the save.
Second period, 1:00, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins have killed off the Zdeno Chara penalty.
Second period, 0:01, Bruins 1-0: The second period is underway. The Bruins will have to kill off 54 seconds of power-play time.
End first period, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins were able to kill the first 1:06 of the Colorado power play, and Boston has now gone 10 straight games without allowing a first-period goal.
They will have to kill off 54 seconds of Zdeno Chara’s high sticking penalty to open the second.
First period, 18:54, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are going to have to kill off a penalty at the end of the period.
Zdeno Chara was just called for high sticking, and the B’s PK will attempt to get its second kill of the game.
First period, 16:00, Bruins 1-0: Colorado’s Brad Malone had a chance at a pretty open net on a rebound chance, but he missed the net.
First period, 13:00, Bruins 1-0: While the Bruins have the lead, you could certainly make the case that the Avalanche have been the better team so far.
The Avs almost tied the game late in the first period. Matt Duchene was right in front as Chad Johnson coughed up the puck and had lost his stick as well. Duchene — nor anyone else in a blue sweater — could get to the puck. The Bruins eventually cleared the puck but not after a few tense moments.
The Avs hold a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal.
First period, 7:46, Bruins 1-0: Gregory Campbell doesn’t win many of the fights he’s in, but he just held his own against a bigger player.
Campbell dropped the gloves with Cody McLeod for a spirited bout in the Boston zone that featured a couple of heavy (connected) punches from both parties.
First period, 7:28, Bruins 1-0: THe Avalanche have been all over the Bruins since the Patrice Bergeron goal.
David Krejci turned it over in his own zone, and Gabriel Landeskog almost took advantage on a one-timer in the slot. He beat Chad Johnson, but he hit the post.
First period, 5:12, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are on the board first.
Patrice Bergeron just scored after a gorgeous feed from Dougie Hamilton who hit Bergeron with a pass from the offensive blue line. The pass was like a quarterback leading a receiver, and it got Bergeron right in front. His first shot was stopped, but he jammed the rebound by Semyon Varlamov to give the B’s the 1-0 lead.
First period, 4:03, 0-0: The Bruins were able to kill off the penalty, but it wasn’t easy.
The Avalanche had plenty of offensive zone and moved the puck really well, but the Bruins had active sticks and were able to make sure Colorado didn’t get anything too good.
First period, 1:48, 0-0: The Bruins are going to have to kill the game’s first power play.
Kevan Miller was called for elbowing after a huge hit deep in the Boston end. The hit looked clean, but the neutral zone referee saw elbowing.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: And we’re off. The Bruins and Avalanche are underway in Denver.
8:58 p.m.: Johnny Boychuk is still a scratch for the Bruins, as he apparently needs at least one more day to recover.
Matt Bartkowski is back in the Boston lineup, though, after being a healthy scratch on Tuesday in New Jersey. With Bartkowski back in the lineup, Corey Potter is a healthy scratch again after he made his Bruins debut against the Devils.
8:30 p.m.: No funny lineup tricks from Claude Julien tonight with his goaltenders. Chad Johnson just led the Bruins out for pregame warmups, which means he will indeed get the start. It’s his second in as many games.
Semyon Varlamov gets the start for Colorado.
7:10 p.m.: One of the Bruins’ most important tasks will be slowing down the de facto “second line” for Colorado. That line consists of Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon.
That line has been real good, and that’s in large part due to the play of MacKinnon. Coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, expectations were rightfully high. So far, he’s lived up to those expectations and is one of the biggest reasons the Avalanche’s turnaround has been so dramatic. He enters Friday night’s game with 23 goals and 31 assists this season and is running away with the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year.
Bruins coach Claude Julien has certainly taken notice.
“It’s pretty impressive from a good, young individual to have that poise and be able to manage the amount of games, the travel and everything else and still have the kind of season he’s having,” Julien told reporters earlier. “He’s surrounded by some good people here. When you look at Duchene, Landeskog and a few other guys that have come in here as really young players, he’s been surrounded by people who have gone through what he’s going through. So I’m sure he’s had some good help in regards of how to handle the situation.
“They’ve had a good year. For him to be part of that elite group that keeps putting up points, it’s pretty impressive.”
6:50 p.m.: In case you missed it earlier, there’s a bit of “news” surrounding Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. While thought to be lost for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL in his right knee, there’s at least a chance Seidenberg could return in the playoffs, if the Bruins make a deep run.
Claude Julien, Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli have all kept the door open that there might be a slight chance that Seidenberg is able to return at some point in the postseason, assuming the Bruins go far. Read more about all of that by clicking here.
2:49 p.m:. Semyon Varlamov is expected to get the start in goal for the Avalanche after getting a two-game break. He’s been a real pleasant surprise for Colorado this season and enters this one with a 34-13-5 record, 2.49 goals against average and .925 save percentage. He didn’t make the start back on Oct. 10 in Boston, though. That game belonged to Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The veteran golaie turned back the clock and stopped all 39 shots he faced against the B’s.
2:34 p.m.: Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk may be in the lineup tonight against the Avalanche apparently.
Boychuk, who practiced Thursday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury Saturday against Carolina, will be on the ice for the pregame warmups. Claude Julien told reporters he’ll dress seven D-men for the warmup and then make his decision after that.
2:29 p.m.: Here are a couple of lineup notes for the Avalanche.
Paul Stastny will be back in the Colorado lineup after missing two games with a back problem. Speaking of back problems, center John Mitchell is out indefinitely with a back issue of his own. Head coach Patrick Roy wasn’t sure how long Mitchell would be out, but he won’t play tonight against Boston.
Mitchell does get a ton of credit for this tweet that he fired off Thursday afternoon. [tweet https://twitter.com/mitchabov/status/446734338176974848 align=’center’]
2:05 p.m.: Chad Johnson was the first goalie off the ice at Bruins morning skate, which means he should be in net for the B’s tonight. We will see, though. Johnson did get the start Tuesday in New Jersey.
1:30 p.m.: This one should be good. With most of the sports world’s eyes on March Madness this weekend, the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche will kick off their respective weekends with a can’t-miss matchup between two of the NHL’s top teams.
The B’s continue their three-game road trip with a stop in Denver where they will put a 10-game winning streak on the line against the Avalanche. This will be one of the Bruins’ toughest tests during what’s already been a real busy month of March. While Boston comes in having won 10 straight, Colorado has won six of 10 and sits just one point behind Chicago in the extremely tough Central Division.
The Bruins, of course, are playing their best hockey of the season. They’ve torn through March, going 10-1-0 to open the 17-game slate and have rolled over just about everyone they’ve played over the winning streak. They’re coming off of a 4-2 win Tuesday in New Jersey, which earned them a couple of days off. The B’s took Wednesday off completely and had just an optional practice Thursday at the Pepsi Center.
“I think it’s one of those situations where we feel right now where we are with our game and in the standings that we can give these guys some rest, two days,” Claude Julien told reporters in Denver on Thursday. “For a lot of the players that have been logging a lot of minutes either at the Olympics or playing a fair amount of minutes, it becomes physical, but it also becomes mental. We’re no different.”
If the Bruins were to win tonight, it would push them over the 100-point mark for the 21st time in franchise history. Four of those would have come under Claude Julien. The Bruins can also clinch a playoff spot tonight when it’s all said and done. If the Bruins win or get the game to overtime and the Rangers lose in regulation to Columbus, the B’s will clinch a playoff spot.
Tonight’s matchup will be the second between the Bruins and Avalanche. Colorado went into Boston on Oct. 10 and beat Boston 2-0. That was the only time the Bruins have been shut out since, so they’ll probably have that in the back of their mind as well.
Puck drop is set for 9 p.m. ET.
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