Quiet afternoon at home wasn’t enjoyable
For the final 70 seconds of yesterday’s 1-0 loss, goaltender Tuukka Rask sat on the bench as the Bruins sent out six attackers.
First-liners Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton - in theory, the club’s most dangerous gunners - stayed on the bench with Rask. Yesterday, as was the case in the first two games, the No. 1 line had given the coaching staff few reasons to be trusted with such crucial ice time.
After three games, the first line has been the most disjointed of the Bruins’ threesomes. Krejci has one goal. Lucic has one assist. Horton is scoreless.
So far, there’s been little punch and even less presence.
“When your top line is supposed to be your top line, it should try and be that every night,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “So far, I don’t think they’re in synch. I don’t think they’re working hard enough as a group. It’s part of our job to get these guys going, whether it’s through breaking them up or whether it’s through meetings. We’ve got to find a way to get those guys going.
“Right now, I don’t think those three, any of those three, has found his game yet that we know they can play. They’re certainly a little under par right now.’’
Horton has been the quietest. In 13:12 of ice time yesterday, he didn’t land a shot on Semyon Varlamov. Through three games, Horton has recorded one shot. That’s one more than Jordan Caron and Matt Bartkowski, who were both healthy scratches in the last two games.
Horton is skating well, but that’s about all that’s going right in his game so far. The right wing hasn’t been engaged physically and has failed to put himself in the areas from which he can rip off his snap shot.
Horton might be hesitant because of the concussion he suffered during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. But he was sharp in the preseason and seemed to be over any nerves relating to the injury.
The Bruins are only three games into the season. The first line has a history of producing. Julien always has been patient. But with Tyler Seguin looking more comfortable this season, Julien might consider giving the 19-year-old a chance to ride with Lucic and Krejci if Horton continues to struggle.
Just killing it The Bruins haven’t allowed a power-play goal in the last two games. After going 5 for 5 on the PK against Tampa Bay Saturday, the Bruins killed all three of Colorado’s opportunities yesterday.
“It’s been good so far,’’ Patrice Bergeron said. “That’s one of the positives. But we have to find a way to win games.’’
The Bruins limited the Avalanche to four power-play shots in 3:34 of man-advantage time. One reason Colorado didn’t get many shots was because of the Bruins’ strength on the draw. They won six of seven faceoffs while killing penalties.
Through three games, the Bruins have won a league-best 58 percent of their faceoffs. Gregory Campbell went 7 for 9 yesterday. Campbell has won 68.4 percent of his draws.
Kampfer in limbo Steven Kampfer (knee sprain) could resume skating sometime this week. Kampfer hasn’t skated since suffering his injury in the preseason against Ottawa. Julien wasn’t sure whether Kampfer will join the team on its two-game trip to Carolina and Chicago . . . Brad Marchand has one goal on nine shots. He’s missed several point-blank chances, including a backhander yesterday that Varlamov kicked out. “A lot of opportunities every game so far,’’ Marchand said. “Hopefully they’ll go in soon.’’ . . . Old friend Matt Hunwick was a healthy scratch for the second straight game for Colorado. The Avalanche acquired Hunwick from the Bruins last year for Colby Cohen . . . Seguin took the game’s biggest wallop. As he carried the puck up the right side in the first period, Kyle Wilson flattened the forward with a clean hit. Later in the first, Shawn Thornton challenged Wilson to a fight. Wilson, who was at the end of his shift, declined and went to the bench . . . Colorado’s Cody McLeod led the hit parade with nine thumps. Benoit Pouliot had a Bruins-high five hits. The third-line left wing added three shots in 9:48 of ice time. Pouliot should be in line for a third straight game tomorrow against Carolina . . . Tomorrow’s game will be on Versus.