If I’m Semyon Varlamov today, I am one upset human being. This guy did everything a team can ask of its goalie, stopping 44/45 shots faced, and the team couldn’t help him out. It’s not like Boston was getting a lot of crummy, save them in your sleep kind of shots either. These were 45 good quality looks, with at least a dozen that easily could have been goals against other goalies. But Varlamov was strong last night. I almost feel bad that we won. Could you imagine how deflating that must feel? Your team plays so poorly on defense that you are faced with 45 shots, you save 44 of them, and the 18 skaters on your side can’t put the puck in net. That’s horrible. Spoiler Alert: Varlamov is my 1st star of the night.
Regardless of how you feel about Varlamov’s performance, the Bruins walked out of the Pepsi Center last night victorious by a score of 2-0. As you can probably infer from context, the game was not as close as its score. Boston dominated much of the play, but could only get the puck past the Colorado net-minder once. During a rush in the first period, David Krejci found the puck on his stick and fired one just inside the post to put Boston up 1-0. Krejci’s second goal of the season would serve as the lone goal for 50:02 of the game. It would also serve as the only goal given up by either goalie in the game. It could very easily have been a 6-0 game, as Brad Marchand, David Patrnak, Riley Nash, and others all found themselves looking to the sky, as none of their golden opportunities could find their way through the brick wall guarding Colorado’s net. It wasn’t until Dominic Moore put a 95 foot shot into an empty net, giving Boston a 2-0 cushion with 28 seconds left, that any Bruins could cash in on their chances. Colorado could generate no momentum in the game, but in the last minute, before the Moore goal, they did get a few good shots on Rask. Rask only was bothered by Avalanche shooters 20 times, and had no problem turning all their shots aside. He improved to 10-1-0 on the year, earning his 33rd career shutout in the process. The Bruins now sit at 10-6-0 on the year, and rank 2nd in the Atlantic division.
I’m not good with segues, so here are the 3 good things Boston did last night, and the 3 things that they can work on.
1. Great Team Defense –
Anytime you get through a game without giving up a goal, it’s practically a given that the defense played exceptionally well. This hasn’t necessarily been the case for Boston in the 3 shutouts this season. Most of the work was done by Tuukka Rask, and the defense was just,
there. But last night, the D made good reads on the puck, got back to defend rushes, and blocked shots when needed to ensure Rask had to do very little, and Boston could still get the win. Of course, Colorado native Brandon Carlo once again stood out as a smart defensive rookie, making great decisions on defense. He even came close to scoring at one point, but failed.
2. 2nd Period –
The period that cost Boston many of their 6 losses this season, was far from terrible last night. Despite not scoring a goal, it may have been their most dominant period of the season so far. The Bruins out-shot Colorado 23-7 in the period, and spent most of the 20 minutes setting up camp in the Ave’s zone. It was the only period that the Bruins didn’t score, but it was not for a lack of trying.
3. Finding Ways To Win –
This doesn’t pertain to this game in particular, but over the last 9 games, Boston has picked up 7 wins. They’ve improved from a lackluster start, and now sit in a good spot in their division, only behind the white-hot Habs. Boston’s once again a good road team, but this is a team that seems like they can get it done at home too. This could be beneficial later, as 6 of the last 7 games of the year will be played on Garden ice. But last night proved even further, that this team has a knack for winning on the road.
1. Too Much Chara –
Zdeno Chara was on the ice for 24:03 against Colorado. That’s almost 4 minutes more than Carlo, the second most used player last night. Boston is playing with fire leaving Chara on the ice that long, as in his old age, Big Z could very well be injury prone. While he isn’t what he used to be, Boston certainly doesn’t want him to be injured, for some reason. They need to cut down his time, regardless of how long it is between games.
2. Not Getting The Puck In The Net –
This has more to do with Varlamov being insane than Boston actually struggling, but 2 goals against this Colorado team is not a good sign. Especially coming off only 2 goals against Arizona (I’ll always call them Phoenix before saying Arizona). These were 2 teams where Boston could have scored 3 or 4, but could only muster 2 goals in both. As mentioned, Boston had one of those goals come on an empty-net chance from Moore, meaning we only really scored 1 last night. That needs to improve before we start playing stronger offenses.
3. Losing The Hitting Game –
The Big Bad Bruins have been pushed around this season. They are hardly winning any physical battles with opponents, and last night was no exception. Boston was out-hit 19-12 by Colorado, and did not look strong. Luckily, winning in the hit department doesn’t translate directly to the win department. But I’d rather be the hitter than the hittee as Jack Edwards would say.
1. Leading the Bruins forwards in ice time last night was Brad Marchand, with 4 more seconds than Patrice Bergeron. Both came in at the 19 minute mark, meaning they played almost a third of the game.
2. 4th-line center Dominic Moore scored his 4th goal of the year last night, moving him into sole possession of 3rd on the team. Not often does a fourth-liner put up top 6 numbers, but that just shows the surprising depth of this team.
3. Rask picked up his 10th win and 3rd shutout, moving him into a tie for the lead in both categories.
1. Semyon Varlamov (G-COL)
2. Tuukka Rask (G-BOS)
3. David Krejci (C-BOS)
Question To See If You’re Reading: (Comment below or on social media with the answer)
How many minutes into the 3rd period was it before Dominic Moore scored his empty net goal?
How’d you like the game? Were you surprised to see Boston win, or did you expect it? Were you as impressed with Varlamov as I was? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share this with your friends to get their opinions!