3 Takeaways From Bruins’ Dominating 5-1 Win Over Avalanche

Early in the 2022-23 season, the TD Garden has not been kind to visiting teams. The Boston Bruins won their first 13 games on home ice, but they faced their toughest test on Saturday night (Dec. 3) when they hosted the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. 

After four days in between games, the Bruins showed no rust as they played a dominating 60 minutes and beat the Avalanche, 5-1, for their 14th straight win to begin the season on home ice. Boston got performances from all of their stars, but also contributions from an unlikely forward. Here are three takeaways as the Black and Gold improved to 20-3-0 on the season against a Colorado team that is banged up with injuries and missing some key players.

Bruins Stars Lead the Way……. Again

One of the stories this season has been the depth the Bruins have been getting from up and down their lineup. Against the Avalanche, it was their stars that paved the way. David Pastrnak had two goals, Charlie McAvoy had two assists and Brad Marchand played arguably his best all-around game of the season in all situations.

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Pastrnak opened the scoring when he one-timed a Marchand pass on the power play in the first period. Later in the period, McAvoy cut toward the goal, received a pass in the slot from Pavel Zacha and his shot was stopped by Colorado goalie Pavel Francium, but Trent Frederic was able to knock home the rebound for a 2-0 lead. In the second period, Pastrnak got behind the Avalanche defense, received a pass from David Krejci, and scored on a breakaway for a 3-0 lead. In the third period, Taylor Hall set up Frederic for his second goal of the game and Jake DeBrusk sealed the game with Boston’s fifth goal 10 seconds later.

Marchand was all over the ice all night creating chances. He drew two first-period penalties, with the second leading to Pastrnak’s first goal. Whether it was 5-on-5, on the power play or shorthanded, Marchand was a big factor in the outcome.

Ullmark Strong in His Return From Injury

In the third period of the 3-2 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 25, Linus Ullmark left the game after suffering an injury when Connor Clifton fell on him attempting to keep a shot out of the net. Things did not look good for the Bruins’ second-year goalie when he left, but as they have on a couple of occasions this season, Boston avoided a serious injury to a key player. After missing just one game in the last eight days, Ullmark returned to the net and was sharp from the drop of the puck.

Linus Ullmark Boston Bruins
Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He made 25 saves, but 14 of those came in the first period, including some timely ones after his team took the lead. He stopped Nathan MacKinnon point-blank, then later in the shift Ullmark was able to make a reactionary save off a MacKinnon tip. After Frederic’s first goal at the end of the opening period, Ullmark stoned Jean-Luc Foudy in the slot with a glove save. The only goal he gave up was a third-period tally by Andrew Cogliano, who was left alone in the slot after McAvoy and Nick Foligno collided trying to get the puck out of the defensive end.

It did not take the Bruins long to have a scare as Foudy drove toward the net and was knocked down from behind by Clifton and the Avalanche forward had his shot stopped by Ullmark and then he collided with the Black and Gold’s netminder. Fortunately, both players got up and the Bruins had a huge sigh of relief.

Bruins Shut Down NHL’s Top Power Play

Through the first 21 games of the season, Colorado has the NHL’s top-ranked power play. In that span, the Avalanche get 36.1 percent (%) of their goals on the man advantage, but the Bruins killed all three of the visitor’s chances in a battle of the top-ranked power play against the second-ranked penalty kill.

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Boston never let the Avalanche have a lot of sustained pressure on the power play and on the first opportunity, the Bruins had the best scoring chance, which was created by Marchand. As usual, Charlie Coyle, who is second in the NHL in shorthanded time on ice at 2:58 per game, Tomas Nosek, Marchand, Bergeron, Derek Forbort, Brandon Carlo, and Clifton did a nice job of keeping the shots from a distance on Ullmark.

It won’t be too long before the two teams meet again. In four days, they will play their second and final game of the season out in Colorado, which is the beginning of a three-game Bruins road trip. Boston better be ready to play as the short handed defending Stanley Cup champions will be looking for a little bit of revenge. First up, however, for the Bruins is a date with former coach Bruce Cassidy and the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night (Dec. 5) at the TD Garden.

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