DENVER - Despite a late comeback bid, the Bruins dropped their second straight game to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, falling, 6-3, at Pepsi Center.
Boston allowed three second-period goals to fall into a 4-1 hole, before surging back with two goals within a 1:27 span midway through the third to get within one. Strikes from Tim Schaller and Torey Krug and some dazzling stops from Anton Khudobin - who subbed in for Tuukka Rask during the final frame - gave the Bruins some hope, but two empty-netters for the Avs sealed a home-and-home sweep for Colorado.
"It wasn't good enough. They were better than us again, second time in three days. We've got some work to do," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. "I'm not in the excuse making business. It's a National Hockey League game and two points are two points every night. We've just got to be more intelligent and more focused with those decisions, whether it's rust or not we've got to correct that."
Video: BOS Recap: Bruins rally, but fall short to Avs, 6-3
Here are some other observations from the loss in Colorado:
Too Little, Too Late
Down three goals past the midway point of the third, the Bruins got a jolt from their fourth line, with Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly, and Danton Heinen going to work deep in the offensive zone.
Heinen, playing in his first game of the season after being recalled from Providence on Tuesday, took the puck to the left post and jammed one at Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov. Schaller crashed the net and poked home the rebound for his first goal of the season.
Video: BOS@COL: Schaller stuffs home loose puck in close
Heinen was credited with an assist, giving him his first career National Hockey League point.
"Kuraly's line got us going," said Krug. "They're not a flashy line, but they know what their job is and they go straight north-south game and get it behind them and go to work. It was a greasy goal and got us back in it. Got the guys excited on the bench again."
Krug followed up just 1:27 later with his first of the season in a similar fashion. With Boston on the power play and Brad Marchand and Riley Nash battling away in front, Krug swatted at a loose puck and banged it home to bring the Bruins within a goal with 7:03 to play.
Video: BOS@COL: Krug nets power-play goal from side
"At the end of the day, you see in the third period when we're willing to put in the work it pays off, we were able to climb back in the game and give ourselves a chance," said Krug. "You can try to use as many excuses as you want, but we've got to be more committed to battles and I'm a part of that as well."
Second Period Struggles
The Bruins did not start well, as they landed just nine shots on goal through two periods. But a goal from Marchand with just under three minutes to play in the first tied the game, 1-1, and had Boston in a better frame of mind heading to the middle period.
The momentum, however, did not carry over. Nail Yakupov struck for his third goal in two games against the Bruins, exactly one minute into the second, to put Colorado ahead, 2-1. Tallies from Sven Andrighetto and Matt Duchene later in the period opened up a 4-1 lead for the Avalanche.
"It's a sign of weak teams, letting things snowball. I was a big part of that, I was terrible in the second period," said Krug, who was a minus-3. "Turnovers, penalties, every time I touched the ice something bad happened. I'll take the blame for the second period.
"Guys are battling, [Adam McQuaid's] fighting, my D partner's fighting, Tuukka's making saves…leaving guys out to dry and I'll take full blame for that."
Video: The Bruins speak after their 6-3 loss to Colorado
Both Cassidy and the players were not shy in sharing their disappointment with the team's struggles to make strong puck decisions. Boston did not have much success breaking the puck out, and turnovers in the neutral zone and high in the offensive zone led to a number of odd-man rushes.
Rask: "Sometimes mishandles happen, but today the middle of the ice was wide open for the most part and just couldn't get the puck deep. When you give up a lot of odd-man rushes, it becomes a challenge for everybody physically to keep up with that. We have to get better."
Chara: "I have no words, just not a very good game, obviously. We were not strong on the puck, with the puck, under the puck. Just not good enough all over the ice…it's up to us that we make sure we fix it."
Cassidy: "The breakout was a lack of execution. We just didn't make the plays that were in front of us. We forced plays, we were doing that in the offensive zone as well early on. That's why we didn't have a lot of traffic.
"Eventually, we started simplifying and going towards their goal which was the game plan, to be perfectly honest with you, Monday at 1 o'clock. We just didn't execute it until the third period and we got rewarded. Maybe that will be the one positive.
"But we can't be stepping up on pucks that we don't have a very good chance to keep alive when the other team is coming out of the offensive zone or the neutral zone. Teams will just bury it on you and that's what happened."
Khudobin Subs In
Cassidy was not displeased with the performance of Rask, who made 22 saves on 26 shots, saying he pulled his ace netminder for the third period because of the team's struggles in front of him.
"I thought that Dobby needed some work. He's gonna play this weekend and we hung Tuukka out to dry," said Cassidy. "It was more about Dobby getting some work. Sometimes that sparks the team. I don't know in this case if it did, but that was the principal reason."
Khudobin stopped all nine shots he saw in the third, including a stellar sprawling blocker save on J.T. Compher during a three-on-one break late in the period.
"He stepped in great and made three, four really great saves and kept us in it," said Rask.
Video: BOS@COL: Khudobin turns aside Compher's wrister