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Bruins Fall to Avalanche in First Loss of Season

Boston can't overcome rough start in 4-0 defeat

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - Bruce Cassidy knows that not every game will be as pleasant as the Bruins' season-opening win over Nashville. Over the course of an 82-game schedule, there will be plenty of bumps in the road.

But battling through even when you don't have your best is crucial to creating separation from the rest of the pack.

Unfortunately, the Bruins were unable to overcome a slow start on Monday afternoon and were handed a 4-0 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. Boston is now 0-10-1-1 in their last 12 home games against the Avalanche, with the last win coming on March 30, 1998.

"It just wasn't a good effort from young, old, in between, and clearly put myself in that category," said Cassidy. "We're supposed to be ready to play at home, especially after a couple days off, so that was the biggest disappointment to me because things aren't going to go your way some nights, you're going to fight the puck, and it clearly looked like it was going to be that night, but to not have the energy to sustain it and get yourself back in the game is disappointing."

Video: Condensed Game: Avalanche @ Bruins

The Bruins fell behind early on when Avalanche forward Sven Andrighetto's first goal of the season tipped off the glove of Tuukka Rask at 4:41 of the first period. Colorado then doubled the lead later in the opening period when J.T. Compher finished off a 2-on-1 with a shorthanded snipe over Rask's left shoulder with 5:50 remaining in the frame.

"We weren't as crisp as we needed to be, and it showed tonight in the start," said Cassidy. "They were just better than us. We didn't play the game we needed to play. We looked like we were going to get it, then we'd mismanage pucks, and I thought that was the problem. We didn't take advantage of a team that could have some issues breaking pucks out if you have a heavy forecheck, like we did to Nashville, a very good defense. We just didn't play the same game. And that was everybody."

Overall, the Bruins went 0 for 4 on the power play and were unable to gather much momentum on the man advantage.

"That is an area of the game that tonight could have been a big difference maker for us," said Cassidy. "It hurt us on the second goal…it could have got us back in the game, and it didn't. I look at that part the game as clearly a problem."

Boston nearly got on the board during the opening minutes of the second period when David Pastrnak rounded the net and tried to jam one by Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov's left pad barely kept Pastrnak's second attempt from creeping over the goalline, and after review the call on the ice of no goal was upheld.

"I saw that it didn't go over the line," said Pastrnak. "It was hanging out over the line and so I tried to poke it and then I kind of missed the poke because I was coming in the space. I should have stopped there and rebounded there…that would definitely have helped us get some life…but unfortunately the goal didn't come and we couldn't get it."

Colorado opened up a 3-0 lead on a fluke play at 6:07 of the third. Rask attempted to beat Nail Yakupov to a loose puck at the right circle, but Yakupov scooped it up and fired one into an empty net.

"It's a split second decision. You see that you have a chance for the puck and you go for it and try to make a play and get the puck to your own team," said Rask. "I didn't do it, obviously. So that's all you can say about that."

Video: COL@BOS: Rask denies Kerfoot's break with blocker

More observations from the Bruins first loss of the season:

Line Tweaks

Cassidy did not take long to tweak his lines as he searched for anything to spark the Bruins. The B's bench boss loaded up his top line with Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and David Pastrnak, but even that could not jumpstart the offense.

"That's the way we're going to do things around here until we see what we like, and we liked what we saw against Nashville after a short period of time," said Cassidy. "We seemed to get everyone where they best fit and [Monday] I never found the right combination. So, I think it goes on both the players - it's their job to play, whatever position they are - and it's up to the coach to find the chemistry and I couldn't find it tonight, so shame on me."

Finding Their Way

Boston's young talent was immense on Opening Night, with Jake DeBrusk notching his first career goal and Anders Bjork picking up his first assist. But the rookies weren't able to ride that momentum into the second game of the season as both were on the ice for three of Colorado's four goals.

"The coaches have been really good about it, really supportive and just showing me on video what I needed to do and where I needed to be so that's really helpful so that next time I can be there," said Bjork. "They're giving us chances but we definitely have to take advantage of them and learn from our mistakes."

Krug Returns

Torey Krug made his season debut after missing the season opener as he recovered from a fractured jaw. He landed two shots on goal and was a minus-1 in 21 minutes, 56 of ice time.

"Felt okay," said Krug, who was alongside longtime partner Adam McQuaid for much of the afternoon. "Felt good in the first, you know, the power play it just felt like I was doing down-and-backs the whole time until we got some sustained pressure. And in the third you're playing catch up trying to join every rush and that can be difficult at times. So, felt okay. First game in six months, wish we could have just come out on top for sure."

Bergeron Out Again

Patrice Bergeron did not play against the Avalanche and remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Bergeron did skate on his own Monday morning and is expected to travel with the team for the upcoming road trip to Colorado, Arizona, and Vegas.

"He went out today on his own, so it's day to day," said Cassidy. "We want to be cautious, but we don't want it to be him chasing it all year, so let's give him the appropriate amount of time. As you know, that could change if the urgency level of everything goes up. We know that, we're not trying to hide anything here.

"It's just, he's not 100 percent, doesn't feel ready, so we're going to give him the time that's needed."

Grzelcyk Assigned

With the return of Krug to the lineup, the Bruins assigned defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to Providence. But it was not because the team was disappointed with his play.

"Good, moved the puck, stayed out of trouble, good decisions with it, defended well, no issues," Cassidy said before the game. "No one enjoys going down, obviously, but he should be going down in a good frame of mind knowing he could play at this level."

Grzelcyk had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 in 12 minutes, 11 seconds of ice time in the season opener. The 23-year-old also made the outlet pass that led to Jake DeBrusk's first NHL goal.

"We started to see more of how he needs to play to survive in this league, and that's be assertive, move the puck, defend with your stick and your acumen, try to avoid those physical confrontations, win the ones that you can," said Cassidy.

"So good for Grizz. And it's good for us to know that he can play in the league. It was one game, but I do believe he made good strides."

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