Bruins

Two-goal night for Pastrnak not enough for Bruins in 4-2 loss to Avalanche

Two-goal night for Pastrnak not enough for Bruins in 4-2 loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – Some nights are emotional, come-from-behind efforts full of hope and energy that the Bruins have turned a corner, and then others are like Thursday night’s slog against the Colorado Avalanche. 

The majority of the Bruins simply didn’t show up to start the game, and most of them never really fully showed up in a 4-2 loss to the Avalanche at TD Garden that snapped a 4-0-2 stretch of games with points for the Black and Gold. 

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It all started with 4-on-4 play during the first period when Matt Duchene was allowed way too much time and space in the offensive zone, and hammered a shot past Anton Khudobin while all alone in the slot. Seven minutes later the Bruins power play was leaking oil all over the ice, and Torey Krug laid out for a puck at the blue line while he couldn’t keep possession. Instead Nathan MacKinnon beat him in a race down the ice and buried a shot past Khudobin to give Colorado a commanding, early 2-0 lead over Boston. 

A John Mitchell score on a short side wrist shot off the rush to makes it a 3-0 advantage, and that’s when things turned into the David Pastrnak Show. 

The 20-year-old scored a pair of goals to get the Bruins back into the game, electrify the crowd and give Pastrnak an amazing 18 goals scored in 23 games this season. The first was a breakaway after a long stretch pass from Tim Schaller connected with the dangerous Pastrnak, and the second was a bazooka one-timer off a Brad Marchand feed from the corner. 

Unfortunately the Bruins couldn’t hold onto that momentum while playing at their lollygagging pace for the night, and allowed a late Carl Soderberg score late in the second period that wiped out all of their momentum.

It was a rough night all-around, and that goes for Khudobin as well while allowing four goals on 20 shots that dropped his record to 1-4-0 on the season. 

Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings

Almost three weeks remain in the regular season, and the battle for the President's Trophy is already over, with the Lightning (116 points and counting) already wrapping up home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But even though the top spot has already been clinched, the homestretch of the season features a ton of interesting battles for playoff positioning.

Although they're in the same division as Tampa, the Bruins have a chance to finish with the second-best record in hockey and square off against the Maple Leafs in the first round for a second consecutive season.

The Flames and Sharks have both clinched playoff spots already, with Calgary holding a slim three-point lead for the top seed in the Western Conference.

While those teams will look to make noise in the playoffs, many teams are fighting and clawing just to get in, with Columbus leading Montreal by one point for the eighth spot in the East, and Arizona trying to hold off Minnesota and Colorado for the eighth spot in the West.

How do all 31 teams stack up in Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings? Click here to find out.

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Five Bruins storylines to watch before 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs arrive

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USA TODAY Sports

Five Bruins storylines to watch before 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs arrive

The Boston Bruins know there's an extremely high chance they'll play the rival Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs for the second year in a row, but there's still a lot for them to figure out before the postseason begins in April.

The Bruins need a few struggling players to bust out of their slumps, the team needs to get healthier, and the scoring depth that was a major weakness in last season's playoffs needs to improve. 

Boston has nine games remaining to develop good habits and address any issues with their performance entering the playoffs. With that in mind, let's take a look at five Bruins storylines to watch before the postseason arrives.

Click for five Bruins storylines to watch before the playoffs

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.