Even without Brad Marchand, the Boston Bruins played one of their best games of the season Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.
Boston concluded Marchand’s six-game suspension with a 3-2-1 record after Monday’s 5-1 win over Colorado.
The Avalanche entered the contest with just two regulation losses since Dec. 16 and a NHL-leading 76 points. But the shorthanded Bruins controlled the action from puck drop and dominated. One of the Bruins’ biggest issues this season has been either starting or finishing off strong, but falling victim to at least one subpar period. It wasn’t the case Monday.
To put the win into perspective, Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper entered the tilt with points in 18 straight starts while sporting a 16-0-2 record over that stretch, but the Bruins were able to put in five goals on him — four of which came at even strength.
After the game, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy complimented the team’s effort.
“I thought they were great tonight in terms of playing on their toes and urgency,” Cassidy said. “That’s gaps, that’s keeping pucks alive, that’s moving at the offensive blueline, awareness on face-offs and all them battling hard. We kept the good players to the outside, limited them to one and done. I thought our one-on-ones were better in every area. Colorado’s a heavy challenge.”
David Pastrnak continued Cassidy’s sentiment after the win.
“I think it was the best game of the year if we’re talking 60 minutes,” Pastrnak said. “I think we just stayed in the moment. We were really energized and it was a great win for us. It’s a big two points.”
Here are more notes from Monday’s Bruins-Avalanche game:
— With his suspension now lifted, Marchand will return to the ice against the Seattle Kraken on Thursday and Cassidy explained how the team will integrate him back to the lineup.
“We’d like to keep that together. Someone’s going to be probably a little bit unhappy, someone’s gonna have to get moved around. It’s just the way it is,” Cassidy said. “So we’ll sort through that when we practice Wednesday in Seattle and put the best plan together as possible and see where it goes.”
— After a slow start to the season, Pastrnak certainly has found his groove and now has 18 goals since Jan. 8. No other player in the NHL has more goals over his team’s last 20 games.
— Jeremy Swayman has been impressive since returning to the Bruins. Over his last four starts, Swayman has a 3-0-1 record and an eye-popping .968 save percentage. Swayman entered Monday’s tilt sitting in fifth place in the NHL with a .925 save percentage.
— The Bruins are off Tuesday and Wednesday before kicking off a West Coast trip Thursday at Climate Pledge Arena against the Kraken. All coverage can be found right here on NESN, including pre- and postgame.