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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