Varlamov, Yakupov fuel Avalanche in rout of Bruins
BOSTON — Colorado coach Jared Bednar said his team saved its best for last as the Avalanche finished off a season-opening three-game road trip at TD Garden Monday.
“I think we’re fortunate to be 2-1,” Bodnar said after Semyon Varlamov and the Avalanche dumped the Bruins 4-0 on Monday afternoon. “... Our best game of the road trip was certainly our third one and to be 2-1 and to come into a tough building here in Boston, against a good team and be able to get a good solid win ... it’s a little bit of a sign of growth and maturity in our team.”
Varlamov, rebounding well from hip surgery (he had groin problems as well last season), stopped all 29 shots and Nail Yakupov scored his first two goals with his new team as Colorado extended an unusual TD Garden winning streak. The Avalanche have 11 wins and a tie in Boston since their last loss, March 30, 1998.
And Varlamov has two straight shutouts in Boston, both coming on the Columbus Day — the other in 2011.
“I love playing here, even though the ice was a little wet tonight, three nights of Bruno Mars (concerts) will do it,” said Colorado center Matt Duchene. “No, but we have always done well here I’m not sure why. You know it’s a big win for us and it’s a good road trip.”
The Avalanche, who gave up six goals in splitting their first two games, had yielded five power play and one short-handed goal coming in — and killed all four Bruins power plays.
“For sure it’s a good start for me,” said Varlamov, who gave up two goals in a win over the Rangers in New York in the opener. “It gives you confidence and brings confidence to the team.”
Sven Andrighetto and J.T. Compher each scored their first of the season — both in the first period — while Varlamov notched his 22nd career shutout as the Avalanche won the opener of a home-and-home set that concludes in Denver on Wednesday night. The Bruins have won on their last two visits to Colorado.
Tuukka Rask gave up goals on two of the first three shots and made 19 saves as the Bruins fell to 1-1-0, both games at home.
“We’re supposed to be ready to play at home, especially after a couple days off, so that was the biggest disappointment to me,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, “because things aren’t going to go your way some nights, you’re going to fight the puck, and it clearly looked like it was going to be that night, but to not have the energy to sustain it and get yourself back in the game is disappointing.”
Frustrated Bruins fans began a chant of “Let’s Go Red Sox” late in the game — and booed at the final horn.
The Avalanche opened the scoring on their first shot, 4:41 into the game, as Andrighetto wired a hard wrist shot that struck a standing Rask, popped up into the air and over the goaltender into the net.
“I stopped it but somehow I deflected it,” said Rask. “The second one was more my bad, I wasn’t there for the puck. But the first one, not really anything more you can do with that.”
Compher then made it 2-0, taking a pass from former Bruin Carl Soderberg and beating Rask up high just as a Boston power play was ending.
Moments after, Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie hit the post but Yakupov beat Rask to a loose puck well out of the net and slid the puck into the goal. He was credited with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
NOTES: Asked about former teammate Peter Forsberg saying (on Swedish radio) that the Avs should bench and trade Duchene for his reported desire to leave Colorado, Duchene said, “I don’t think it was meant to be anything personal. He and I have a great relationship so I’m not taking it personally. I think he was just commenting on the situation. A lot can get lost in translation, too.” ... D Torey Krug (jaw) and C Austin Czarnik (illness) were both activated from injured reserve but C Patrice Bergeron (lower body) was still out for Boston — the Bruins placing David Backes (diverticulitis) and Noel Acciari (finger) on IR ... Boston sent D Matt Grzelyck to the minors. ... Avalanche G Semyon Varlamov surpassed the 20,000-minute NHL mark in the season-opening win over the New York Rangers. ... The Avalanche are in the midst of five of their first seven games on the road.