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Streaks Continue But Avs Disappointed

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

A couple streaks continued on Wednesday night, but that doesn't mean much to the Colorado Avalanche.

While Gabriel Landeskog and John Mitchell each scored for the third consecutive game and the power play continued to produce, the Avs were disappointed in their performance after a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Pepsi Center.

Boston scored twice in the first 10 minutes and never looked back en route to its first victory of the season.

"We knew they were going to be desperate. We knew they were 0-3, and we knew they were hungry for their first win," Landeskog said. "We just can't afford a start like that, and we can't afford to do that at home. Every road team that comes in to altitude, you have to jump at them right off the get go, especially a fragile team that has lost three in a row. We need a better start than that."

Landeskog tallied late in the second and Mitchell scored in the third to cut the deficit to 5-2 before a late empty-net goal by the Bruins.

After finishing 29th in the league on the power play last season, the Avalanche's man-advantage unit remains an early bright spot for the club. Landeskog scored with 1:29 remaining in the middle stanza after a four-minute high-sticking penalty was assessed to David Pasternak. Colorado finished 1-for-4 with the extra man and continues to lead the NHL with a 50-percent conversion rate (5-for-10).

It is the first time the Avs have began a season with a power-play tally in three straight games since 2009-10, when they scored with the man advantage in their first six contests.

Landeskog's goal in front of goalie Jonas Gustavsson was his fourth of the season, which ties him for the league lead. His six points are tied for third in the NHL.

Mitchell has scored in three straight contests for the first time in his career. His goal came on a shot from the left boards that went short side and into the cage after brushing off Gustavsson's shoulder.

"Just getting pucks to the net and my teammates driving to the net and creating space for me and just those things," Mitchell said. "I'm happy they are going in, but obviously I would like to win first."

The Avs will now prepare for their first road trip of the season, a two-game outing in California this weekend, and will look to learn from the Bruins.

"We got to go in there, and we got to be thirsty for a win and jump on those guys, just like Boston jumped on us," Landeskog said.

Colorado plays the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in the first of three meetings this season against each of the Pacific Division clubs.


Goaltender Reto Berra was in the crease for the first time in 2015-16 as he came in relief of starter Semyon Varlamov in the second period.

Berra saw 22:22 of work and stopped all five shots he faced in the final half of the contest.

The Swiss netminder was in a goaltending battle during training camp and the preseason with prospect Calvin Pickard, but he was solid enough in practices and games to win the backup job.

Berra finished last season strong, winning three of his last four contests. He posted his first career shutout in a 41-save effort in his final appearance on April 9 versus Winnipeg.

Despite Varlamov giving up five goals on 19 shots, Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy didn't put the blame squarely on the Russian.

"Varly doesn't have the start that I'm sure he wants, but at the same time, you look at the goals he gave up in the second, no help," Roy said after the contest.

Roy noted that the starting netminder for Friday's contest against the Ducks will be decided on Thursday after he talks with goaltending coach Francois Allaire.


Defenseman Brad Stuart saw his first action of the season after being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the year.

The 35-year-old veteran was paired with Nick Holden and finished the contest with 13:41 of ice time in 18 shifts.

Stuart replaced Nate Guenin, who sat for the first time this year. Defenseman Brandon Gormley and forward Mikhail Grigorenko were the other two healthy scratches and have yet to play in the regular season.

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