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Need to Know: Bruins at Avalanche

Bruins look to pick up second win on road trip

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The Bruins finish a stretch of five games in seven days on Sunday night when they face the Colorado Avalanche in Denver at Pepsi Center. 

 

The game also completes a back-to-back, with Boston having earned a 2-1 win in Arizona over the Coyotes on Saturday night. 

 

Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. local time) on NESN and 100.7 WZLX. 

 

Here is what you need to know:

What to Watch For

The Bruins (9-6-0) moved into third in the Atlantic Division after Saturday's win, and now have 18 points on the season, just one above both Tampa Bay and Detroit. 

 

It might be too early to start the standings watch, as teams will be tight all season long - but being in a playoff spot in the top three of the division is always a comforting sight, no matter which time of year it is.

 

The Bruins are the top road team in the NHL, with a 6-3-0 record. While that has been mostly dictated by the schedule thus far, this team has proved in recent years that they can play well away from home. They keep it simple, and play as a team. 

 

Head Coach Claude Julien was pleased with the two points on Saturday night in Arizona, but he wasn't too pleased with the way the Bruins let their game get away from them a bit, not being as crisp with their puck management. He wants them to tighten up defensively on Sunday against the Avalanche. 

 

"You don't want those habits to creep into your game, so that's what we're trying to make sure that doesn't happen here," said Julien. "So [Sunday] night's an important game for us."

 

A win to cap off a back-to-back set and a busy stretch would allow the Bruins to enjoy three days off from game action. After Sunday, their next game isn't until Thursday against the Wild in Minnesota. 

 

"We're playing decent hockey, so it's a lot easier to give days off and time off for them to rest," said Julien. "It becomes a challenge when you need to fix things and you're trying to decide what's the best thing, whether it's going out there and fixing it, or whether it's giving them rest, so players can dictate that stuff a lot as well by their play."

Carlo Comes Home 

Nineteen-year-old defenseman Brandon Carlo is back home in Colorado. The native of Colorado Springs is likely to have a very large group of family and friends in attendance when he suits up his 16th NHL game on Sunday night at the rink where he grew up watching the Avalanche play.

 

"It's pretty crazy," said Carlo. "I went to a couple of games there growing up and the atmosphere is unbelievable all around the NHL and I got to experience that from a different perspective in the stands and that was the main place I got to do that, so I'm pretty excited."

 

Carlo's poise has been oft talked about. It's impressive. That doesn't mean he won't have some nerves heading into this one. 

 

"You know, it wouldn't surprise me if the guy's a little bit more nervous - I think anybody in that situation would be, whether you're young or old, the first time you play in your hometown is pretty special," said Julien. "And you're going to play in front of family, friends, all of that stuff, so no doubt that it's going to have an impact on being nervous."

 

"But that doesn't mean it's going to have an impact on his game. You know, sometimes being nervous, being excited is not a bad thing. We'll see how he handles it."

Opposing View

The Avalanche (6-7-0) are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Winnipeg on Friday night, and are facing the Bruins in the third game of a four-game homestand. They are now 5-1-0 in one-goal games this season.

 

Colorado's power play ranks 10th in the NHL at home, and its produced a goal in three of its last four games. 

 

According to the Avalanche website (ColoradoAvalanche.com), Semyon Varlamov is expected between the pipes for Colorado. Blake Comeau (groin) is not expected to play. Matt Duchene is out with a head injury. Callup AJ Greer is likely to make his NHL debut. 

Wait, There's More

- This marks the first of two meetings on the season, with the Avs coming to Boston on Dec. 8. 

- The Bruins and Avs are meeting for the 141st time in their histories (including time as the Quebec Nordiques), with the Bruins having a 71-52-15-2 all-time record. 

- David Pastrnak is tied for second in the NHL with 10 goals. Only Winnipeg's Patrik Laine has more (11). 

Bruins' Most Recent Lineup (vs. Arizona on 11/12)

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Ryan Spooner - David Krejci - David Backes

Matt Beleskey - Riley Nash - Austin Czarnik

Tim Schaller - Dominic Moore - Jimmy Hayes

 

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles - Colin Miller

 

Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Zane McIntyre

 

Scratches: Joe Morrow, Sean Kuraly, Anton Khudobin (Injured Reserve)

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