Avs hold on to sweep home-and-home vs. Bruins
DENVER — Matt Duchene has made it known he is not happy he is still playing for the Colorado Avalanche.
That hasn’t prevented him or the team from starting fast this season.
Duchene and Nail Yakupov each recorded a goal and an assist, Sven Andrighetto had two goals, and the Avalanche held off a third-period rally for a 6-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in their home opener Wednesday night.
Alexander Kerfoot and Tyson Jost also scored for Colorado. It was Kerfoot’s first career goal. Semyon Varlamov stopped 20 shots, and Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog had two assists each for Colorado.
The Avalanche (3-1-0) swept a home-and-home series with the Bruins (1-2-0) after taking a 4-0 win in Boston on Monday.
Colorado got off to a good start at home, a place it struggled to win last season. The Avalanche were 13-26-2 at Pepsi Center in 2016-17, but for one night, they buried those memories.
“Great start,” Duchene said. “We have to be better at home this year than we have in the last few years. That’s what we want right there. A game like this, it was our best game of the season. We’ve gotten better with each game.”
Brad Marchand, Tim Schaller and Torey Krug scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask, who was pulled after the second period, stopped 22 of 26 shots. Backup Anton Khudobin stopped all nine shots he faced in the third period.
“It wasn’t good enough,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They were better than us again, the second time in three days.”
The Bruins are struggling with young players being thrust into the lineup because of injuries. Mistakes led to a bad second period when Colorado erupted for three goals to take the lead after the teams battled to a 1-1 tie after one.
Yakupov got his third of the season one minute into the middle period to give the Avalanche the lead. Colorado went ahead 3-1 on Andrighetto’s power-play goal at 12:37 of the second.
The goal came 44 seconds after Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid went off for cross-checking Jost into the boards. The Colorado rookie left the game favoring his left leg but returned.
“I was terrible in the second period,” Krug said. “Turnovers, penalties, every time I touched the ice, something bad happened. I’ll take the blame for the second period.”
Duchene made it 4-1 at 15:43 of the second, his second goal of the season. The team’s most-tenured player expected to be dealt in the offseason and was blunt in training camp when he said he only reported to honor his contract and his teammates.
His unhappiness hasn’t impacted his play. He is tied with Yakupov for the team lead in points with five.
“I haven’t thought about Matt’s situation, his circumstances, whatever you want to call it, since we opened training camp,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “He’s anchoring that line with Kerfoot and Yak, and they’re good every night. As long as they stay competitive and keep working like that, that’s all I care about.”
The Bruins seemed done after Duchene scored, but they rallied to make it close. Schaller scored with 8:30 remaining to make it 4-2, and 1:27 later, Krug scored on a power play to make it a one-goal game.
Boston kept up the pressure, but Andrighetto and Jost scored empty-net goals 24 seconds apart to seal it.
Kerfoot gave the Avalanche the early lead. He skated through the slot as defenseman Tyson Barrie took a shot from the point and deflected it past Rask at 8:19 of the first period.
“It’s a dream to in play the NHL, and to get a goal is pretty special,” Kerfoot said.
Marchand tied it right after Boston killed off its second penalty. He outmaneuvered the Colorado defense and beat Varlamov with a high shot to the far post at 17:06 of the first.
NOTES: Boston C Patrice Bergeron (lower-body injury) was scratched and has yet to play this season. He could return for the Bruins’ game at Arizona on Saturday. The next game Bergeron plays will be the 900th of his NHL career. ... Avalanche rookie D Andrei Mironov was scratched for the third game. Mironov played in the opener against the New York Rangers but has not been in the lineup since. ... Bruins rookie C Danton Heinen was in the lineup a day after being recalled from Providence of the AHL. He had an assist for his first NHL point. ... C Ryan White, signed to a professional tryout agreement by Boston on Tuesday, was not active. ... The Avalanche are 14-5-3 in home openers since moving to Denver in 1995.