The Boston Bruins play the Colorado Avalanche today at the TD Bank Garden at 1:00PM. This is the first meeting of the new season between the two teams and the last game before the Bruins take their first road trip.
Old Bruins nemesis Patrick Roy is the coach and it's the team Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco used to coach.
A couple of former Bruins are on the Colorado team, namely Jerome Iginla and Brad Stuart. This will be Iginla's first game back in the Garden since he departed as a free agent last July.
The Avalanche was last year's most improved and most surprising team. In the last two weeks of the season they came out of no where to lock down the Central Division top seed. They have big, young, fast dynamic forwards complimented by a very mobile defense and goaltender Semyon Varlamov was a Vezina Trophy contender.
On paper the Avalanche seem to be a solid team top to bottom and are expected to be every bit as good as last year. They added veteran players for depth in Iginla, Daniel Brierre and Brad Stuart over the summer to cement some leadership issues. However, they have lost their first two games by a combined total of 10-0. The hit on them in the news is that they are playing way too fancy, trying to make too many pretty and tic, tack, toe plays. They have been out shooting teams, winning face-offs, out hitting teams and their penalty kill is perfect. All good signs even if your not winning. They haven't been finishing 5 on 5 or on the power play. Don't worry, they have too much high end talent, they'll connect eventually. I just hope eventually isn't today.
After being shelled in the first two games and being pulled in the last game, Varlamov may take a seat today and we can see Reto Berra, formerly of the Calgary Flames in net.
Unfortunately for the Bruins with their porous penalty kill and lack of quickness in the first three games, I suspect Colorado will put points on the board today. The question is can we put some points up also.
Keys to the Game: Score some goals somehow. Stay out of the penalty box, Expect a ten minute blistering surge of speed from the Avs as they try to shake up Svedberg to start the game. The Bruins have to find a way to control the speed and pace of this game so the forwards can go to work with our skill set. Krejci if he plays, helps the power play.
Concerns: The Avs have depth at forward three lines deep that can score. They are fast and sometimes slowing fast teams down causes penalties. Once the Avs score a goal, they will likely keep the petal to the medal as they have the ability to score 3-4 goals in a short spurt. They can lock down teams when they have the lead, the Bruins can't allow a two goal lead in this game or it will get away from them.
Sidebar: I am working my regular job during the game and will recap late tonight.
Until Next Time!