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Bruins-Avalanche Preview @NHLdotcom
Bruins-Avalanche Preview

GAME: Boston Bruins (10-14-5) at Colorado Avalanche (14-10-3).

TIME: Wednesday, 9 p.m. EST.

The Boston Bruins seek their third victory in four games since trading captain Joe Thornton and their first winning road trip of the season when they face the Colorado Avalanche.

Boston dealt Thornton to San Jose for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart last Wednesday. The following night, the Bruins defeated Ottawa 3-0. They went on to win 5-4 in Edmonton on Saturday before losing 5-2 at Vancouver on Sunday.

Sturm has two goals and an assist in three games for Boston, while Stuart has two assists. Primeau has yet to register a point in a Bruins uniform.

With a win Wednesday, Boston can finish its western swing 2-1. The Bruins have not finished a road trip of two or more games with a winning record since winning back-to-back games in Nashville and Buffalo from March 9-11, 2004.

In Sunday's loss, the Bruins fell behind 2-0 in the first period for the second consecutive night.

"We've just got to be more ready when the game starts," said Boston goalie Hannu Toivonen. "We got totally outskated in the first 10 minutes and that cannot happen."

Colorado usually is ready from the opening faceoff, leading the league with 40 first-period goals in 27 games.

The Avalanche are looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since March 16-20, 2004.

On Sunday night at the Pepsi Center, the Avs came back from an early three-goal deficit against Buffalo, but allowed two goals in the final three minutes and lost 6-4.

"We certainly were resilient to get back into the game, but I didn't like the ending," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said.

Avalanche goalie David Aebischer allowed four goals on 16 shots in the first period before being pulled. He's given up nine goals in his last two games after surrendering four during a personal three-game win streak.

"I'm just not happy with the way I played," Aebischer said.

Milan Hejduk's three assists were a bright spot for Colorado on Sunday. In his last six games, Hejduk has seven points and is plus-6.

The Avs are 6-3 in home games against Boston since moving to Colorado in 1995-96, but the Bruins have won their last two trips to the Pepsi Center.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 6): Bruins - 25 points, 5th place, 17 PB, Northeast Division. Avalanche - 31 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Sergei Samsonov and Glen Murray, 12 goals; Sergei Samsonov, 13 assists and 25 points; Jiri Slegr, 44 PIM. Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 13 goals; Alex Tanguay, 19 assists and 29 points; Ian Laperriere, 50 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 6): Bruins - Power play: 18.3 percent (31 for 169), 12th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (154 for 185), tied for 10th. Avalanche - Power play: 18.5 percent (33 for 178), tied for 10th. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (128 for 152), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Andrew Raycroft (4-11-2, 0 SO, 3.43 GAA); Toivonen (6-3-3, 1, 3.15). Avalanche - Aebischer (11-6-0, 1, 3.37); Peter Budaj (3-4-3, 2.61).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 21, 2003; Bruins, 4-1. At Denver, Thornton and Murray had three assists each, and Felix Potvin made 26 saves for Boston.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 5-8-4 on the road; Avalanche - 7-4-3 at home.

Associated Press
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