The Boston Bruins finally got off the schneid Wednesday night, torching the Colorado Avalanche to avoid their worst start in 61 years.
The six goals in Boston’s 6-2 win nearly equaled the team’s previous season total of seven, and each came courtesy of a different skater. Ten players in all factored into the scoring, with winger Jimmy Hayes busting out of a slump of his own to lead the charge with a career-high four points.
Let’s take a spin through some notes from Boston’s first and only trip to Denver this season:
— Boston’s first win of the season came in the first game goaltender Tuukka Rask did not start.
Backup Jonas Gustavsson manned the net against the Avs and — save for one gimme of a goal in the third period — was solid. The 30-year-old Swede saved 19 of the 21 shots he faced, including one on a breakaway by Mikko Rantanen in the first period and another on a nifty wraparound bid by Gabriel Landeskog in the third.
Gustavsson’s one glaring mistake came on Colorado’s second and final goal, a throwaway wrist shot by John Mitchell that slipped between the goalie and the right post. He also allowed a power-play goal by Landeskog after the Bruins already had built a 5-0 lead.
Steady, reliable play behind Rask will be tremendously important for the Bruins this season, and Gustavsson passed his first test.
— In their first three games, the Bruins made a nasty habit of jumping out to fast starts but quickly falling apart. They started strong again in Colorado, but this time, they kept their composure until the game was well in hand.
This was particularly true in the second — a period in which Boston had been outscored 7-2 before Wednesday.
“I thought in all three games, we had some decent starts in the first period,” head coach Claude Julien said after the game in an interview with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “I thought we did well, but we weren’t able to sustain that through a whole game. At the same time, there were some real individual mistakes that were uncharacteristic of what we see from our players most of the time. That’s what I meant by managing the puck — you’ve got to minimize those kind of mistakes. Make the smart plays, make the smart decisions, and you’ll be fine. And I thought we did a better job of that (Wednesday night).”
— The Bruins’ third goal of the night also was the first of Tyler Randell’s NHL career. Torey Krug made sure to fish the puck out of the net, giving the 24-year-old Randell a nice memento from his NHL debut.
Rookie defenseman Colin Miller also assisted on Hayes’s first-period goal for his first NHL point, and recently recalled D-man Tommy Cross played relatively mistake-free hockey in his first taste of NHL action.
— Bruins radio color commentator Bob Beers offered a strong rebuttal to rumors that the team might be shopping stars Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand.
— The Bruins will enjoy a day off Thursday before returning to the practice rink ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the Arizona Coyotes.
“It’s nice to get the win with the day off tomorrow,” forward Chris Kelly told NESN rinkside reporter Nikki Reyes. “This is the first road trip of the season, so it’s nice to kind of unwind and be with the guys on the road.”
Kelly put a backhander past Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov in the second period for his first goal of the season.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson blocks a shot by Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen.
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