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Recchi, Thomas key Bruins over Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski /
DENVER – Thanks in part to a couple of oldies but goodies, the Boston Bruins had an easy time Saturday with the Colorado Avalanche.

Right wing Mark Recchi, who turns 43 on Feb. 1, scored his 573rd career goal and added two assists, and 36-year-old goalie Tim Thomas stopped 32 shots in the Northeast Division-leading Bruins' 6-2 win at the Pepsi Center.

"Timmy's been in a zone since the exhibitions," Recchi said of Thomas, who owns a 23-4-6 record and leads the NHL in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. "He really hasn't slowed down at all."

Thomas, who has won five consecutive starts, received plenty of offensive help.

Brad Marchand had two goals and two assists; Patrice Bergeron a goal and two assists; Milan Lucic scored a goal in each of the first two periods, giving him a career-high 19 goals for the season, and David Krejci contributed two assists.

"This is a tough place to play, and we came in and played a great game," Recchi said. "It's just fun being out here playing right now and trying to be a piece of the puzzle and help these guys. It's a great group of guys here. We have a lot of fun together. Everybody cares and that makes it easy to come to work every day."

The Bruins are having plenty of fun on the road, where they have posted a 6-0-3 record in the past nine games and are 15-5-4 overall.

The Avalanche, in contrast, have been stumbling on home ice, recording a 3-6-2 mark in the past 11 games and are 13-10-3 overall.

The Bruins scored four consecutive goals to seize control after Paul Stastny opened the scoring for the Avalanche at the 2-minute mark of the first period.

"The first five, six minutes I thought we played great," Stastny said. "We dipped off after they scored their first goal and it kind of changed the way we played."

Thomas stopped all 15 shots he faced in the second period when Recchi and Lucic scored 4:20 apart on two-on-one rushes off Colorado turnovers for a 4-1 Boston lead.

"They executed their game plan pretty well," Stastny said. "When we get into trouble is when we turn the puck over. You get down a couple goals and you try to get too cute and that's when you get eaten up."

The Avalanche drew within 4-2 at 1:41 of the third period when Kevin Shattenkirk sent a 15-foot back-handed shot over Thomas' glove for his first goal in 18 games. Shortly after, the Bruins killed off a hooking penalty to Michael Ryder, with Thomas making a big stop against Kyle Cumiskey from point-blank range.

"Fortunately, I was semi-ready when the puck came out front to him," Thomas said. "I was already down on my knees and I decided to just wait on my knees instead of getting up. Fortunately, I was able to save it and the puck stayed right there so I was able to cover it."

The Bruins padded their lead at 9:56 when Bergeron's pass in the goalmouth bounced off the skate of Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles behind goalie Peter Budaj, who replaced Craig Anderson to begin the period.

Marchand scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 1:35 to play.

The Bruins outshot the Avalanche 19-8 in the first period and grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals by Marchand at 9:20 and Lucic at the 12-minute mark on a power play.

"We really controlled that period," Recchi said. "They got the first one, but we just stayed with it. It's not an easy place to come in and play, and we outskated a team that's known for its skating."

Stastny gave the Avalanche its early lead when he tipped Shattenkirk's shot into the net for his 17th goal of the season and 100th of his NHL career.

"Just another goal," he said. "It's always better when you win. Right now we're in a grind and you don't really think about individual stuff."

Marchand was credited with a goal when a puck bounced into the net off the skate of Avalanche defenseman Ryan O'Byrne, who was checking him in front.

O'Byrne was in the penalty box for delay of game when Lucic scored 20 seconds into the power play off a feed from David Krejci.

O'Byrne's turnover also led to the Bruins' third goal. Marchand skated down left wing with Liles the lone defender back and passed across to Recchi.

"Marchie stole it and I was able to beat (O'Byrne) up the ice and then (Marchand) sucked everybody in. I think I was the only one who knew he was going to pass. He made a great play and I just put it into an open net."

Lucic converted Krejci's pass at 19:04 after a giveaway by Colorado forward Kevin Porter.

"They had four guys in deep and the puck popped out and it was a 2-on-1 and (Krejci) made a real nice pass," Lucic said. "I just wanted to shoot it hard on net and was able to bury it."

Bruins center Marc Savard suffered a head injury early in the second period after being checked into the boards by former teammate Matt Hunwick and didn't return. The Bruins didn't divulge the extent of the injury, but it's been reported that Savard will not fly with the team to Los Angeles. He'll instead return to Boston for further evaluation.
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