Avalanche-Bruins Preview: Goals Anyone?


More from Mile High Sticking

This thing is starting to take on a life of its own — the Colorado Avalanche are having trouble scoring goals. The high-octane scoring team has only scored 10 goals since returning from an overlong summer, and, unfortunately, they all came in the preseason.

Yes, the Avalanche are absolutely going to score some goals — all teams do eventually. It’s just a matter of when. When the Avalanche visit the Bruins TD Garden, the biggest questions, therefore, revolve around scoring.

#1: Will the Avalanche get a goal against the Bruins?

Only one team shut the Avalanche out last season. Yes, unfortunately, that team was the Boston Bruins. Of course, the Avalanche blanked the Bruins in their home arena, so that’s something to look at. The Bruins are coming off of a game in which they were shut out at home, too.

No one in the Avalanche camp is hitting the panic button yet. Captain Gabriel Landeskog said:

"“I’m not worried. We’re a strong group in here, and we win and we lose together. Right now we’ve had two tough games, but we’ve got 80 more to go. So we’ve got to put the work boots on and get to work.”"

All last season, head coach Patrick Roy preached staying even-keel, not being too high after wins or too low after losses. Thus far, players seem to be keeping their chins up. However, they sure would like to get on the scoreboard…

#2: Who will score first for the Avalanche?

The Colorado Avalanche have so many great scorers. The most obvious choices for someone breaking the scoring ice is one of the following:

  • Matt Duchene
  • Gabriel Landeskog
  • Nate MacKinnon
  • Ryan O’Reilly
  • Tyson Barrie

You can’t discount the veterans either, Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay. On the other end of the spectrum, no one has more jump in his step than Dennis Everberg right now, the rookie who’s trying to cement his spot on the team. A third-liner such as Daniel Briere or Jamie McGinn can knock one in, and you never know when Erik Johnson’s going to go coast-to-coast.

However, if I were a better, I’d wager on either Matt Duchene or Tyson Barrie, judging from their performance in the two games against Minnesota.

#3: What will line combinations look like?

Live Feed

3 reasons the Avalanche won't win the Stanley Cup in 2024
3 reasons the Avalanche won't win the Stanley Cup in 2024 /

Puck Prose

  • Could Flames Goalie Dan Vladar Be A Trade Option for the Avalanche?Flame for Thought
  • Colorado Avalanche sign free agent Tomas Tatar to one year dealPuck Prose
  • The most important player to watch this season for the AvalanchePuck Prose
  • 2023 Central Division Preview Series: Colorado AvalancheBlackout Dallas
  • The Top 5 Centers in the NHL Today Might Not Be Who You ThinkPuck Prose
  • Coach Roy introduced a new system of scoring duos. He put together prime scorers such as Duchene and Iginla with an odd man, McGinn in their case. The system even had MacKinnon on the third line. The new system couldn’t be called an unqualified success, considering the Avalanche are still goal-less. However, they certainly played better in the second game than the first.

    During his post-game presser, Roy said:

    "“We can build on that game. It was a hard-fought game, and we were a lot different than we were last game. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t get rewarded for that. But I like the performance tonight.”"

    He went on to reiterate that he wasn’t worried if the players continue to play the way they did in the home opener. Whether that means the lines stay the same, well, it’s a pretty good bet they will at first at least.

    #4: How will Jarome Iginla do against his former team?

    Jarome Iginla played for the Boston Bruins for only one season. However, players always say it’s a little bit different going into your old arena for the first time. Iginla concurred:

    "“I’ve done it a couple of times now, and that first game back is definitely a little different.”"

    Iginla, of course, was part of the power house that helped the Bruins earn the President’s Trophy for best league record. He earned 30 goals and 61 points, playing in all 82 games. Iginla enjoyed his time with the Bruins. He was unable to stay a member of the team once he became an unrestricted free agent, though, because of salary cap issues. Nonetheless, Iginla is ready:

    "“Once you get back, it’s game time. It’s business.”"

    If Iginla is fired up enough, he might just be the one to end Colorado’s scoring drought.

    #5: What kind of game will Erik Johnson play?

    Erik Johnson has been at the center of a mini drama. He earned a game misconduct in the home game against the Wild for a hit on Minnesota center Erik Haula. The league will give him no supplemental discipline, but, thanks to the earliness of the season and that 10-minute major, Johnson currently leads the league in penalty minutes with 21.

    Naturally, such a statistic won’t last. However, there’s no doubting that Johnson has been playing a more physical game. In addition to the elbowing call, he’s been called for holding, roughing and cross-checking. This is uncharacteristic of Johnson, who’s what Roy characterizes as a skill player. He can move the puck, skate fast and defend without getting physical.

    Johnson said of the play against Haula:

    "“I expect Haula to be up for an Academy Award. They’re trying to get embellishment out of the freaking league. And it wasn’t a vicious hit.”"

    Nonetheless, the ensuing penalties cost the team. It’s not the reason the Avalanche lost, but it didn’t help. Johnson is bound to be conscious of that. It’s likely he’ll take a little bit of the physical play back out of his game.

    So, Colorado meets Boston at the unusually early time of 11:00 am. Really, that’s an unusual time for a Monday game. However, here’s to hoping the unusual time is enough strangeness that this odd scoring drought will finally be over for the Avalanche.