The Colorado Avalanche boast a number of the finest high-end talent within the NHL, together with present Hart Trophy frontrunner Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Cale Makar, who’s being talked about in the identical breath as Bobby Orr today.
When they’re at their finest, the Avs are a panoramic mixture of pace and talent.
But the Bruins’ prime guys take a again seat to nobody within the league and on Thursday on the Garden, they confirmed it.
Coach Jim Montgomery loaded up along with his prime two defensemen, Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy, paired with the highest line of Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to go in opposition to the Avs’ prime pairing of Makar and Devon Toews and the highest line of McKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Jonathan Drouin.
And what did the battle of the behomoth’s produce? A David Pastrnak hat trick (Nos. 27, 28, 29) and a hard-earned 5-2 victory for the Bruins over the Avalanche.
“I think it was a challenge that all five guys wanted,” stated Montgomery. “I don’t know if it was a statement game, but I just like how our game is building. You can see the confidence throughout the lineup with how we’re playing with the puck.”
The B’s got here out throwing haymakers within the first, needed to climate a Colorado flurry within the second after which produced considered one of their finest shutdown third intervals of the season, limiting the Avs to only 4 pictures earlier than lastly placing the sport on ice with a late power-play objective by Pastrnak.
Pastrnak fired 13 pictures on the web and landed eight on an evening that would carry him into the Hart dialog as effectively.
“Those are fun always,” stated Pastrnak of the matchup. “You always want to play against the top players. Nate is a little tougher. You wouldn’t mind if you stay away from their line. They’ve been playing unbelievable. But it’s always challenging and good motivation to play against them. He and Mikko have been unbelievable together. It’s fun to play against those guys.”
But as intriguing because the five-man mano-a-mano was, it was the B’s depth that swayed the sport of their favor. Jake DeBrusk had his finest 200-foot sport of the 12 months, notching what turned out to be the successful objective, making a candy move to Pastrnak late within the sport to provide the B’s some respiratory house within the third and utilizing his legs to backcheck, snuffing out a few promising wanting Colorado possibilities.
DeBrusk has left his first half doldrums behind him.
“It seems to be getting repetitive here in the second half. It seems every game is his best game of the year,” stated Montgomery. “That’s a credit to him, because his details, his habits … that play to Pasta? That’s a high-end play on the power-play goal.”
It wouldn’t be a Bruins win with out a main contribution from a goaltender, and Jeremy Swayman did that, making 32 saves to nail down his third straight win.
The B’s despatched the message early that they had been able to play. On the primary shift of the sport, the highest unit pinned the Avs again of their zone till Coyle poked the puck away from Makar, proper to Pastrnak, who circled out and beat Alexander Georgiev for his twenty seventh of the 12 months simply 44 seconds into the sport.
Jakub Lauko gave them a 2-0 benefit along with his first objective of the 12 months at 4:58. Lindholm stopped a transparent try alongside the left wall and bought the puck down low to Morgan Geekie. Spotting the extensive open Lauko on the left facet, Geekie bought it to him for the simple open web backhander.
The B’s had their momentum stunted briefly after Oskar Steen was referred to as for tripping on what regarded like incidental contact. The B’s had been capable of kill off the penalty however earlier than they had been capable of get one other man into the play, Miles Wood someway sneaked a follow-up shot by Swayman’s shortside.
But DeBrusk bought the B’s their two-goal lead again at 14:52 along with his tenth of the season. With DeBrusk slicing by the slot, Parker Wotherspoon related on a move that DeBrusk deflected previous Georgiev from the excessive slot.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar challenged for offside on Pavel Zacha on the zone entry, however it was dominated Zacha had “possession and control of the puck as he entered the attacking zone.” The B’s couldn’t put the hammer down on the following energy play, nonetheless.
The Avs picked up the tempo within the second, outshooting the B’s 17-8 and, after some shut calls, they lastly pulled to inside one with 3:40 left within the interval. Swayman stopped a protracted shot from the left level from Josh Manson, however it bought below and behind him. It didn’t go over the road, however MacKinnon situated it earlier than Swayman may and tapped it residence.
Colorado would begin the third interval with an influence play, and it positive felt just like the Avs had been able to soar. But the B’s by no means allow them to get airborne.
After grinding the interval out with a one-goal lead, the B’s lastly put it away after Manson high-sticked Coyle and, with 2:36 left, DeBrusk lower to the center of the ice earlier than he slipped a move down low to Pastrnak for a tip and a 4-2 lead. Coyle then made positive that Pastrnak bought the hat trick with the Colorado web empty.
And whereas Montgomery didn’t need to name it an announcement win, it’s positive feeling like his workforce simply may need one thing to say this season in spite of everything.