3 Takeaways From Avalanche’s 5-1 Loss to Bruins

It’s usually the Colorado Avalanche handing out dominant beatdowns this season. The Boston Bruins turned the tables against the team with the NHL’s best record on Monday.

The Bruins dominated every facet of the game, crushing the Avalanche 5-1. Four different players had multi-point games, and the Bruins outshot the Avalanche 45-29 to end Colorado’s seven-game road winning streak. David Pastrnak had a pair of goals for Boston, and Jeremy Swayman was sharp with 28 saves in the victory. It was just the second time in the last 33 games Colorado was held to just one goal. Here are three takeaways from Monday’s loss.

Avalanche’s Power Play Finally Connects

About the only silver lining for the Avalanche was their lone goal came on the power play, which has been awful for the entire month of February. The Avalanche entered Monday’s contest with the 10th best power play in the NHL but had just one goal with the man advantage in their last 17 attempts. They got one on Monday from Nathan MacKinnon, and it was a beauty.

Nathan MacKinnon Colorado Avalanche
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Trailing 2-0 in the second period, MacKinnon slapped in a one-timer from Mikko Rantanen just 13 seconds after a Taylor Hall tripping penalty midway through the second. Makar also assisted on the play, giving both Rantanen and Makar 33 assists on the season. The Avalanche got three more tries with the man advantage and generated some chances, but blocked shots stymied the other three tries. The Bruins blocked 11 shots in the win.

Related: Avalanche’s Season Turnaround & MacKinnon’s Talent

MacKinnon’s goal gave him 12 on the season and extended his point streak to five games. He has scored in every game since missing around two weeks with an upper-body injury the last time they played the Bruins on Jan. 26.

Boston Dominates From Puck Drop

The main reason the Bruins were able to maintain so much pressure on the Avalanche was because of the Bruins’ dominance in the faceoff circle. Boston won 61 percent of the faceoffs in the victory, which is the highest percentage against the Avalanche this season. Patrice Bergeron was especially dominant, winning 74 percent of his faceoffs in the win. After the first period, Bergeron had more faceoff wins (7) than the Avalanche had as a team (6). Boston won 13 faceoffs in the period.

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Boston entered the game third in the NHL in faceoff win percentage (53.8 percent), while the Avalanche sat 30th (46.9 percent). The first-period faceoff dominance helped the Bruins outshoot the Avalanche 21-9 in the opening 20 minutes. Darcy Kuemper still had Colorado in the game with his 20 first-period saves, but the writing was on the wall. The faceoff dominance continued into the second period and helped set up Bergeron’s 13th of the season to make it 2-0 at the 8:01 mark of the middle stanza.

MacKinnon closed the gap to 2-1 roughly five minutes later, but another gaffe led to a faceoff that set up Pastrnak’s second goal. Around 90 seconds after MacKinnon’s tally, Avalanche defenseman Kurtis MacDermid inexplicably iced the puck despite what looked like plenty of room to clear the zone. Bergeron easily won the ensuing faceoff, and five seconds later, Pastrnak had his 27th on the season on a shot where Kuemper had no chance. Just 67 seconds later, Jake DeBrusk squeaked one past Kuemper to blow things open for the Bruins.

Kuemper Solid Despite Stat Line

The final stat line isn’t going to look good for Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper, but he was probably Colorado’s best player on Monday. Colorado struggled all over the ice as Boston racked up five goals, but it would have been much worse without Kuemper between the pipes – particularly in the first period.

Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche
Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Avalanche trailed 1-0 following the first period, but Kuemper made a whopping 20 saves in the opening 20 minutes – including 17 stops through the first 12:14. As a point of reference, he needed to make just 23 saves in his shutout win over the Dallas Stars just eight days earlier. The one goal Kuemper allowed in the opening stanza wasn’t his fault, as it was produced by a lazy turnover from Cale Makar.

His biggest surge came midway through the first period when the Bruins were on the power play for the first time. The Avalanche were able to clear the zone only once during the penalty kill, and Kuemper had to make six saves during the two minutes. He wound up making 10 saves on Boston’s three power plays, but Boston’s fifth goal – a wacky bouncer off Kuemper’s back – was the only one he didn’t stop as the Bruins went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.

It was the fourth time this season Colorado had been outshot by 13 or more. They won the game on two of those previous three instances. Their road trip wraps up on Wednesday at the Detroit Red Wings. After that, they’ll return home to host the Winnipeg Jets on Friday before heading to Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights on Saturday.

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