Bruins

Haggerty: A disappointment that Sabres, not Bruins, landed Skinner

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Haggerty: A disappointment that Sabres, not Bruins, landed Skinner

In case you missed it, the Buffalo Sabres traded for Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner after a summer of speculation that Skinner would be dealt. So that’s another Atlantic Division team that got significantly better this summer while the Bruins made more modest improvements over the same time period. The fact that Skinner was a player who could have filled a need in Boston adds to the disappointment of watching him go to a divisional foe, and it leaves Artemi Panarin as the only big top-6 sniper type still potentially available with the start of training camp little more than a month away. 

Three draft picks and a top prospect is a high price to be sure, but the Sabres didn't give up a first-rounder or a player from their NHL roster. So presumably it’s a cost the B’s could have paid if Skinner was invested in coming to Boston, as it appeared that he was in going to Buffaki, and one is left to assume the Bruins weren’t on his list of preferred destinations. If it turns out, though, that the B's simply weren’t interested in Skinner or had him pegged strictly as a left winger on a team that already has Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk, well, that would be a little less forgivable. 

Either way, it looks like the Bruins could go into training camp with their current roster, which would be a disappointment after losing out on Ilya Kovalchuk and John Tavares earlier this summer. That goes double for a team that wasn’t good enough last season, and has watched Tampa Bay, Toronto and others in the East improve themselves over the last few months.  

Bruins Talking Points from their 6-3 loss to the Avalanche

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Bruins Talking Points from their 6-3 loss to the Avalanche

Here are some talking points from the Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Avalanche. . .

GOLD STAR: Mikko Rantanen is off to a roaring start this season, and it’s easy to see why after watching him against the Bruins on Wednesday night. Rantanen was the best player on the ice for either team and racked up a goal and three points in 20:38 of ice time while scoring, making plays and being involved despite Boston’s best attempts to slow him down. While it’s true that more damage was done by Rantanen and his linemates once Zdeno Chara was knocked out of the game and cleared a whole lot more room in the offensive end, the Finnish forward also showed the skill to be able to do damage no matter which defenders are on the ice.

BLACK EYE: After a really promising game for the Bruins young third line in the final couple of games at home, they went awfully silent in a high-paced, challenging game on the road against the Avalanche. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen only managed to combine for a single shot on net and didn’t generate any scoring chances while in a game where the Bruins could have used more offense and pressure up and down the lineup. It’s perfectly understandable to get one average-to-bad game from the young forwards after getting a couple of promising performances leading up to it, but they’re going to need to play better if they want to stick together as a forward trio. They were close to invisible against the Avalanche and that’s no good.

TURNING POINT: It was pretty clearly the third period as the Avalanche outshot the Bruins by a 10-3 margin to start the period and scored four unanswered goals on the way to coming all the way back from a 3-1 deficit. It’s impossible to say whether it was the high altitude that ultimately did the Avalanche in, or if it was the Zdeno Chara injury that caused things to collapse after such a solid start for the Black and Gold. But whatever the reason the wheels completely came off in the third period when the B’s had been leading 3-2 entering the frame, and they didn’t have a chance of coming back once it started to go south on them.

HONORABLE MENTION: Give it to old Harvard standout Alex Kerfoot, who managed to put together a goal and two points in 13 plus minutes of ice time while getting just a single shot on net. The former Crimson standout also won 7-of-8 face-offs in an impressive night’s work and gave the Avalanche everything that they were looking for in secondary scoring behind their big top line. It was impressive that each of Gabriel Landeskog, Alex MacKinnon and Rantanen were able to produce a goal for the top line, but it’s getting those kinds of supportive games from players like MacKinnon that end up tipping the winning scales for a team like the Avs.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 – the number of goals for David Pastrnak, which is good enough to lead the NHL after racking up another power play strike in the first period of Boston’s eventual loss to the Avalanche.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We didn’t play winning hockey in the third period. We ran out of gas, but I thought it was more in the second period than the period. We just had some self-inflicted errors that hurt us.” –Bruce Cassidy, to NESN on what went wrong with the B’s in Colorado. 

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Highlights from the Bruins' 6-3 loss to Avalanche

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Highlights from the Bruins' 6-3 loss to Avalanche

FINAL SCORE: Avalanche 6, Bruins 3

FROM JOE HAGGERTY

1. It looked like Zdeno Chara hyper-extended his left knee in a collision with Carl Soderberg at the end of the first period right before Jake DeBrusk’s breakaway goal. The knee buckled as he went in for the hit against the sideboards, and then he looked down in pain right afterward before gingerly finishing out his shift. Chara never came out for the second period and was done for the rest of the night after that with a lower-body injury, so stay tuned on that one.

2. Jake DeBrusk continues to get hot for the B’s with a couple of goals in the win over Colorado. It was DeBrusk with a breakaway goal in the final minute of the first period after a brutal turnover by that Colorado top line by the defensive blue line. Then DeBrusk added to it by redirecting a David Pastrnak bomb from the point to extend the lead in the second period. The Bruins need DeBrusk to be another scoring threat beyond their big three and he’s doing that with his fourth goal in the last four games.

3. Good for David Backes getting the assist on the David Pastrnak score in the first period as he finally knocked the row of zeroes off his season stat line. The 34-year-old still has just the one assist in 13 games for the B’s this season, but he’s also looked as good as he has all season in the last few games skating on the fourth line. So good for him.

4. It’s hard to tell if it was the Mile High altitude or if it was the Bruins missing their defensive linchpin with the Zdeno Chara injury, but things fell apart completely in the third period. The Avs outshot the Bruins by an 11-9 margin and scored four unanswered goals in the third period to completely pull away from the B’s. The Bruins were dominated physically and outclassed in the skills department as well by a talented Avs group.

5. The Avalanche got goals from Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen while the Bruins only got the one power-play score from David Pastrnak in the game. So Colorado won this round of bragging rights for the NHL’s best forward line with the two most explosive forward trios going head-to-head in this game. 

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 10-6-2

HIGHLIGHTS

AVS SCORE FIRST

PASTA STAYS HOT

DEBRUSK PUTS B'S AHEAD. . .

. . . AND HE ADDS ANOTHER

COLORADO BACK WITHIN ONE

CALVERT TIES IT FOR AVS

TOP LINE PUTS COLORADO AHEAD

UP NEXT

FRIDAY: at Stars, 8 p.m. (NESN)

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