After playing like garbage for much of Saturday night’s matchup with the New York Islanders, the Bruins’ offense came alive in the last ten minutes of the third period. Three quick goals to tie it and a scoreless five-minute overtime session later, the young Bruins’ netminder Tuukka Rask was facing Islanders’ veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson in Rask’s first NHL shootout. He would eventually get emerge victorious, after Marc Savard potted the game winner past Roloson to steal two points from New York, winning 4-3 in astonishing come-from-behind fashion.
Coach Claude Julien hopes that late momentum will carry over to Monday’s Columbus Day matinee matchup with the Colorado Avalanche, a game that will mark the conclusion of a season-opening five-game homestand for Boston.
Time to delve into Monday’s opponents. Let us learn about the young, new-look Avalanche.
- Boston opened their season last year at the Pepsi Center in Colorado, winning the game 5-4. However, the B’s haven’t had as much luck in their own building against the Avalanche recently, going 0-3-1 at the Garden vs. Colorado in their last four matchups. The last win over Colorado in Boston was over a decade ago, back on March 30, 1998.
- Both Boston and Colorado found themselves in shootouts Saturday night. While Boston topped the Islanders 4-3, the ‘Lanche were on the short end of a 4-3 shootout game of their own. Colorado lost to Chicago in a shootout that lasted nine rounds.
- Monday’s game will mark the third stop on a seven-game road trip for the Avalanche, marking the longest road trip in franchise history, since moving from Quebec to Denver in 1995.
- Last season, Colorado missed the playoffs for only the second time since the ’95 escape from Quebec. The Avalanche were dead last in the NHL in scoring last year at 2.32 goals per game.
- This season, while it’s still early, Colorado is behind only Calgary in power play percentage, at an impressive 33.3%.
- Colorado’s leading scorer thus far is young winger Wojtek Wolski, who has found the net four times in their first four games. Last season, Wolski put up 14 goals and 28 assists. Also among the leaders for the ‘Lanche: 23-year-old centerman Paul Stastny, who while injury prone, has 185 career points in just 193 games, and winger Milan Hejduk, who led the team in scoring last year with a stat line of 27-32-59. He shared the team’s point lead with veteran Ryan Smyth, who has since been traded to Los Angeles.
- In goal for the Avalanche, the team has featured journeyman goaltender Craig Anderson in each of their first four games this season. So far, Anderson has put together a 2-1-1 record with a 1.98 GAA. Anderson spent last year as a backup in Florida, posting a 15-7-5 record and a 2.71 GAA. Also on the roster is Peter Budaj, who saw the brunt of the work last year for Colorado, with a 20-29-7 record and 2.86GAA.
- There are no real local ties on the active roster for Colorado, but you may find a familiar face behind the bench now coaching the young, rebuilding squad. Medford’s own Joe Sacco (no, not Joe Sakic), became head coach of the Avalanche in the offseason, replacing Tony Granato. Sacco, who played in the NHL for 5 different teams between 1990 and 2003, played in 738 NHL games over his career. The winger played his collegiate career at Boston University, where in 111 games in 3 seasons, he put up 128 points. Sacco also began his coaching career locally, when just two years after hanging up his skates, he joined the Lowell Loch Monsters’ coaching staff as an assistant coach.
Tags: Bruins, Claude Julien, Colorado Avalanche, Craig Anderson, Ice Breakers, Joe Sacco, Marc Savard, Milan Hejduk, Paul Stastny, peter budaj, Ryan Smyth, Tuukka Rask, Wojtek Wolski