Game preview: Bruins at Avalanche
January, 21, 2011
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
|(26-14-7, 59 pts)||-- vs. --||(24-17-6, 54 pts)|
The Boston Bruins fell flat in a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres in a Northeast Division matchup Thursday night at the TD Garden, but the Black and Gold can’t dwell on that loss because there are two important games, and four points, at stake on the team’s current road trip.
The Bruins are in Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. ET) before continuing west to Los Angeles on Monday night to take on the Kings (10:30 p.m. ET).
After Boston’s brief two-game road trip, the Bruins return home to host the Florida Panthers on Wednesday at the Garden. With the exception of All-Stars Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara, along with rookie Tyler Seguin, who will participate in the skills competition, the Bruins will enjoy a much-needed break during All-Star festivities next weekend.
Without getting too far ahead, the Bruins have to erase Thursday’s loss and concentrate on the task at hand.
“You have to do that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told bostonbruins.com. “But you also have to show it, and the next few games are going to show us if we can bounce back and play well again ... You’ve got to make sure you don’t carry that into the next game.
“Our focus has to be there. We know they are going to be tough games because we’re going into some buildings where teams are fighting for playoff spots in that conference.”
The Bruins have played extremely well of late with an explosive offense. Boston is 9-3-3 in its past 15 games and has outscored its opponents 55-39 during this stretch.
During the 15-game stretch, Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron has 17 points, and Chara and fellow blueliner Dennis Seidenberg each have 12 points. Forward Michael Ryder and Gregory Campbell each have nine points and Brad Marchand has eight points. Goaltender Tim Thomas is 7-0-3 and his last regulation loss came on Dec. 20 against Anaheim. His last road loss was on Dec. 16 in Montreal.
“I really like the way we’re playing right now,” Thomas said prior to Thursday’s game.
Boston will have to show its resiliency and its ability to bounce back after a tough loss. When the puck drops Saturday afternoon in the Mile High City, the Bruins will face former teammate Matt Hunwick for the first time since the defenseman was traded to Colorado in December.
The Bruins have played well on the road this season, compiling a 14-5-4 record and that will need to continue the next two games.
“The road has been good to us this year,” Julien told bostonbruins.com. “We’ve played some great games. The guys really seem to be prepared and they seem to bond well together on the road. This is another opportunity for us to get some valuable points.”