Bruins host streaking Avalanche in clash of top teams
Note to the Colorado Avalanche as they take on the Bruins in their lone trip to Boston this season: It isn't over until it's over.
Third-period comebacks have been a hallmark for the Bruins as they take a 13-game points streak (9-0-4) into Saturday's tilt. Boston has scored 12 of its last 13 goals in the third period or later, including three to rally from a 3-0 deficit in an eventual overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
That defeat snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Bruins. Meanwhile, the Avalanche have won five straight and possess an offense as dangerous through all three periods as any team in the league.
Colorado has outscored opponents 22-9 during its streak, which continued with a 3-2 road win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Captain Gabriel Landeskog scored in his return after missing 16 games -- including all of November -- with a lower-body injury. Winger Andre Burakovsky was also back in the lineup after a three-game absence (upper body) and backup goalie Pavel Francouz held firm in net with 38 saves.
"We put ourselves in a position to win," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told reporters. "We got some saves when we needed them. It was a good all-around effort by our team, especially on the road."
Without Landeskog, Colorado went 9-6-1 to keep pace with the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.
"I wasn't even nervous about getting back in the lineup, the boys were so hot," said Landeskog. "But no, it is nice to get back in and get a win right away. It has been a good road trip so far, excited to get to Boston and get a day off tomorrow and rest up and then back to work on Saturday."
The Avalanche figure to have their work cut out for them as the Bruins are still the only team in the league undefeated at home (12-0-5). Their league-leading 42 third-period goals have a lot to do with that, as was the case Thursday.
"I don't know that it's sustainable. Maybe if you can keep it tied and then in the third find that crack and try to expose it. We've got game-breakers that can do that," Bruins forward David Backes said. "... That being said, we showed some great character and found a way to get one point out of it."
Boston hopes to get one if its biggest game-breakers back soon as top-line center Patrice Bergeron joined the team for practice Friday in a non-contact jersey. Bergeron (lower body) has already been ruled out for Saturday, which will be his seventh consecutive game missed.
"Once you have the red sweater on, you're that much closer," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Monday (in Ottawa) now becomes more of a target day for us if there's no setbacks."
Winger Brett Ritchie was a full participant in practice Friday and nears his return from six games missed with an elbow infection.
The Bruins and Avalanche already played in Colorado earlier this season, Boston losing 4-2.
--Field Level Media
Updated December 6, 2019