The Bruins checked into the Mile High City for the final stop on their season-opening four-game road trip. For the first time all season, coach Bruce Cassidy and company exited the building in defeat.
The Bruins played well enough to walk away with another two points, but a pair of untimely video reviews and a strong Avalanche comeback shifted the momentum.
David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara started off the scoring festivities with a pair of first-period tallies. Karson Kuhlman later finished a feed from Jake DeBrusk, which would have put the Bruins up by two, but a goaltender interference review overturned the call and kept Boston’s lead at 2-1.
The Avalanche kept pressuring the Bruins all night, eventually tallying four unanswered goals. Nathan MacKinnon, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Andre Burakovsky, and Gabriel Landeskog all sparked the Avs’ comeback with their tallies, while a red-hot Phillip Grubauer made 39 saves en route to a 4-2 victory.
“We scored four goals, they counted two, unfortunately. That’ll happen,” Bruce Cassidy told NESN postgame. “It’s one of those nights where things don’t go your way.”
Here’s what we learned as the Bruins return to Boston with a 3-1 mark through the first four games.
The top line picked up where they left off in Vegas.
Once again, the top line of Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron led the way.
Picking up right where they left off Tuesday night in Vegas, the trio combined for four points and provided quality scoring chances throughout the night.
With the second line still working its way back into sync following David Krejci’s return from injury, the Bruins need their dynamic trio to deliver the lion’s share of offense. The top line has notched goals in each of the team’s last three games.
There were two questionable replay reviews.
It wasn’t the reason the Bruins lost this game, but it’s hard to feel like video challenges didn’t cost them two points.
Things started with Kuhlman’s non-goal after the officials ruled Krejci interfered with Grubauuer. The goalie interference call shifted momentum.
Kuhlman's goal gets over turned for goalie interference pic.twitter.com/KKUuxuPYhI— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) October 11, 2019
“We should have won this game, 4-2. Those were goals, honestly,” Jake DeBrusk told reporters after the loss. “I had a goal and an assist tonight, and they both got called back. I don’t think it’ll snowball but definitely pissing me off for sure.”
DeBrusk is also referencing his third-period power-play goal that would have given the Bruins a 3-2 lead. But the Avalanche challenged again — this time for an offside that took place 51 seconds prior to DeBrusk’s tally — resulting in another no-goal for Boston.
The referees made the correct call by the letter of the law, as Pastrnak strayed offside. But it’s arguable that the offside had no effect on the goal, which happened nearly a minute after.
Instead of leading 3-1 in the second or 3-2 in the third, the Bruins ended up playing from behind in the third.
The season-opening trip was still a success.
The Bruins took six of a possible eight points on a tough road swing to kick off the season, with a potential Stanley Cup Final hangover looming over them during this stretch. They avoided initial disappointment with victories over a deep Dallas squad, a young and improving Coyotes bunch and a stout Vegas side.
Now the Bruins head back to Boston, where they kick off a four-game homestand Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils.