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Bruins vs. Avalanche 1/8/24 PREVIEW and GAMETHREAD

A Mile High matchup in Denver!

Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Just the Facts:

  • The Time: 9pm EST
  • The Place: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
  • Place to Watch: NESN, Altitude, ESPN+
  • Place to Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub
  • An Opposing Viewpoint: Puck Yeti/Mile High Hockey

Know Your Enemy:

  • The Avs are 2nd in the Central Division, with a 25-12-3 overall record, a 7-2-1 record in their last 10, and that’s good for 53 points.
  • Hey it might shock you to learn but Nathan MacKinnon’s still pretty good; he’s got 65 points in 40 games and the Avs’ team lead in goals with 22.
  • Right behind him are the two headed monster of Val Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen, who both have 20 goals in 40 games this season. Nichushkin himself is a power play menace this year, with 11 goals on the season coming from the man advantage.
  • Cale Makar’s still pretty damn good; he’s got 47 points in 35 games and once again remains a major force on their back end.
  • Goaltending allegedly belongs to Alex Georgiev, as he’s played the vast majority of their starts, but he and his backup Ivan Prosvetov have a thing in common beyond a language: a sub-.900 SV%. We’ll talk about that downstairs.

Game Preview:

The B’s had themselves a great track meet of a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to remind you that, while they have their warts, they can still absolutely dominate a game if they need to, and send themselves off to the wild, wild west with smiles on your face and songs in their hearts.

Now they’re gonna need to buckle down.

The Avs are once again pretty damn good, putting out a Nathan Mackinnon to start with is always a strong opening play, but backing that up is a roster that once again seems designed to give just about everyone fits. They’re fast, they’re aggressive, and they’re even graduating former Habs prospects into legit NHL forwards.

The Avs however, are vulnerable. Those fits do apply to “Everyone”, after all.

The games that the Avs have lost over their last ten are definitely head scratchers: they’re coming into this one having gotten absolutely pantsed by the Panthers 8-4, they’ve given up a one goal contest to actual Chicago, and they went 1-1 against Arizona in December. In fairness, Arizona is a lot better than people give them credit for these days, but that is still quite a number of puzzling drops in quality, and even their wins recently have been pretty close; their last two wins were OT winners after both sides scored 4, and both games involved some hardcore 3rd period comebacks in order to finish the game. Part of the issue is Colorado’s goaltending which as I insinuated up top is uh...mercurial. For as good as the rest of the team is, the Avs’ netminders have not been able to consistently hold up their end of the bargain, forcing them into perhaps more back-and-forth games than they’d care to admit to playing.

If the B’s can handle Colorado’s opening and ending salvo, they should be able to control the game tightly. Should be a good one either way!