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Kerfoot Scores First NHL Goal

Colorado picks up the 6-3 win over Boston in its home opener

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

It wasn't the prettiest goal that Alexander Kerfoot has or will ever score, but it is likely one of his most memorable ones.

Kerfoot recorded his first NHL marker on Wednesday to open the game's scoring and help boost the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins in the club's home opener at Pepsi Center.

The Harvard University grad was in the right place at the right time, generating traffic in front of Boston netminder Tuukka Rask. Kerfoot skated through the low slot when the puck from Tyson Barrie's shot at the point deflected off his leg, fluttered over Rask and into the cage.

Kerfoot said afterward that he didn't even see the puck coming.

"It was just a great play by Dutchy (Matt Duchene) getting in the zone and holding it up and giving it back to Tyson," Kerfoot said. "I just drove to the net and was lucky that it banked off me. It was a great play by them."

Video: BOS@COL: Kerfoot tips in his first career goal

Lucky or not, the tally seems to be well deserved for the 23-year-old rookie.

"He's strong on the puck and the puck follows him around a little bit," said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar. "I said it before, he doesn't like to throw it away, but he's starting to use his speed and his elusiveness to make plays. He's not scared to go into the hard areas to score or create plays. There is a lot to like, but he is quickly kind of earning the trust of our coaching staff."

The goal was Kerfoot's second career point after he had an assist in the season opener and his NHL debut on Thursday at the New York Rangers.

Video: Alexander Kerfoot talks about his first NHL goal

Kerfoot signed with Colorado as a college free agent on Aug. 24 after a four-year career at Harvard. He made the NHL club out of training camp after developing chemistry on a line with Duchene and Nail Yakupov, and his growth since then is evident among his teammates.

"From the first three games of the preseason to now, he's really getting comfortable," Duchene said. "You can see how smart he is. He's a skilled player."

Wednesday's contest marked Kerfoot's first regular-season contest at Pepsi Center, but it also was his third "opening night" of the young campaign. The Avs had previously played in the season/home openers for both the Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

The Vancouver, British Columbia, native finally got his first taste of what it is like playing in Colorado's home rink

"It is pretty special," Kerfoot said. "Obviously, I'm new to this and it's a little different playing in front of a couple thousand people in college. This is the NHL, and it was a great atmosphere out there tonight."

HAVE YOU MET NAIL?

The two-game, home-and-home series with the Bruins might have been Nail Yakupov's coming out party with the Avalanche. Or at least it was the introduction to what the dynamic forward can do for the club.

Yakupov joined teammate Sven Andrighetto by posting four points over the two contests against Boston, where Colorado finished with a 10-3 advantage in goals scored. Yakupov and Andrighetto each tallied three goals and added an assist.

Yakupov had a tally and a helper on Wednesday and the finished the two outings with a plus-5 rating. He is tied with Duchene for the team lead in scoring with five points.

Video: Nail Yakupov on the Avs' home-opener victory

The Nizhnekamsk, Russia, native's marker in the second game of the set came a minute into the second period. During an odd-man rush, Yakupov received a pass from Nathan MacKinnon at the right circle and unleashed a hard one-time snap shot past Rask.

Yakupov's third goal of the year was the start of a three-score stanza by the Avalanche that broke the game open.

"We all wanted to play in the offensive zone," Yakupov said of the middle frame. "I think we did a good job on the forecheck. Had some big bodies there. We tried to make them work, make them move. I think they might have gotten a little tired, the guys that had a long shifts there."

BARBERIO BACK IN

Defenseman Mark Barberio returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games. He was paired on defense with Chris Bigras and finished with three shots on goal, one blocked shot and five minutes of penalty time after getting in a fight with Boston's Matt Beleskey in the first period.

Prior to being scratched on Saturday at the New Jersey Devils, Barberio had played in 35 straight games with the Avalanche. He skated in every contest last season after being claimed on waivers on Feb. 2 and appeared in the club's season opener at the New York Rangers last Thursday.

Rookie Anton Lindholm was the odd man out on the backend, joining forward Matt Nieto and fellow defenseman Andrei Mironov as the healthy scratches against the Bruins.

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