The Colorado Avalanche didn’t have much to celebrate last season on the heels of finishing with the fewest points (48) of any NHL team in the salary cap era. Fast forward to the present as the Avalanche are in position to record a season sweep of the Boston Bruins should they emerge victorious on Wednesday in the back end of a home-and-home series at the Pepsi Center.
Semyon Varlamov is looking no worse for wear after undergoing double hip surgery in January, as he turned aside 37 shots in a season-opening win over the New York Rangers and all 29 he faced in Monday’s 2-0 victory over Boston. “It’s a good start for me. I didn’t play for a long time,” said the 29-year-old Russian, who boasts a 1.00 goals-against average and .971 save percentage. “Came back and started the season with two wins. It brings confidence to the team.” Confidence could be in short supply for the Bruins, who will see stud two-way center Patrice Bergeron (lower body) sidelined for the first three games of the season for the second straight year. “I don’t know if it ‘got worse’ is the right way to put it. It just hasn‘t, I guess, responded well to treatment is probably a better way to put it,” coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters on Tuesday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, NESN (Boston), Altitude (Colorado)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (1-1-0): With Bergeron and fellow forward David Backes (diverticulitis) to sit out on Wednesday, Boston will once again turn to David Krejci, Riley Nash and even Sean Kuraly to provide significant minutes down the middle of the ice. Boston addressed its forward depth by recalling Danton Heinen from Providence of the American Hockey League and signing journeyman Ryan White to a professional tryout agreement on Tuesday. Heinen was one of Boston’s final cuts at the end of the preseason after recording 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 64 games in 2016-17 in Providence.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (2-1-0): Colorado was banking that Nail Yakupov could give its ailing offense a jolt when it signed the former No. 1 overall pick to a one-year deal in the offseason. After mustering just three goals and nine points in 40 games for St. Louis, the 23-year-old Russian found his offense early this season with a two-goal performance versus Boston to pull even with Matt Duchene for the team lead in points (three). The 26-year-old Duchene, who had an assist in Monday’s matinee, scored a goal in his previous encounter with the Bruins - a 4-2 win on Dec. 8.
1. Colorado has allowed six goals this season, but none at even strength.
2. Neither club is faring well on the power play as the Bruins are just 1-for-9 with the man advantage while the Avalanche are 1-for-12.
3. The Avalanche announced Tuesday that the Colorado Eagles will be the club’s new American Hockey League affiliate beginning in the 2018-19 season.
PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Avalanche 2