DENVER (AP) — Taylor Hall scored twice and had an assist, Linus Ullmark stopped 23 shots for his second shutout of the season and the Boston Bruins cruised to a 4-0 win over the banged-up Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
David Pastrnak and Trent Frederic added goals for the Bruins, who beat Colorado 5-1 last weekend. Boston improved to 10-0-1 against Western Conference teams this season.
The Bruins found a big spark soon after Pastrnak was knocked to the ice on a hard hit from Dryden Hunt early in the second period. Tomas Nosek came to the defense of Pastrnak and got into a fight with Hunt. Both were sent to the penalty box.
Pastrnak exacted a measure of revenge just over two minutes later by scoring his 18th goal of the season. It was set up by a David Krejci pass from behind the net.
“That can fire us up,” Charlie Coyle said of Nosek's confrontation. “Sticking up for one of our top guys, that’s big.”
Hall soon made it 2-0 thanks to Coyle, who stole the puck and fed it to Hall.
“It’s not easy coming to the altitude and playing. I don’t think any one of us expected to have a rocking start,” Hall explained. “But we found our game as the (second) period went on and we found our legs. That was really good.”
In the third period, Frederic scored on a pass from Hall, and 3:18 later Hall added another.
Alexandar Georgiev stopped 33 shots for an Avalanche team that has lost three straight.
Colorado is trying to weather a glut of injuries that's led it to dig deep into its minor-league system. The team called up Cal Burke, Ben Meyers, Sampo Ranta and Andreas Englund from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL on Wednesday. The foursome were all in the depleted lineup. The team has now used 34 players this season, which is among the most in the league.
“We’re missing a lot of guys,” Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen said. “But no excuses.”
That was coach Jared Bednar's message, too. Just keep playing hard.
“Listen, if you’re quitting, you shouldn’t be in the league. It’s a privilege to play in this league,” Bednar said. “It’s not always going to be easy. It’s a hard game. That’s one. Moral victories? We’re going to take it, and we’re going to teach it. If this group stays the exact same moving forward for the next one game, two games, five games, I expect us to be better the next game. They're going to learn as a group, what it takes to be able to play in this league, what it takes to be able to have success in this league.”
The latest player to be sidelined was Colorado's leading scorer, Nathan MacKinnon. He's out for about a month after suffering an upper-body injury during Monday's loss in Philadelphia.
Forwards Darren Helm and Artturi Lehkonen skated with the team Wednesday and could be close to a return.
Burke made his NHL debut against the team he grew up rooting for as a kid. Burke, who’s from Massachusetts, was a big fan of Patrice Bergeron.
“It’s kind of surreal, with a lot of family back home being able to watch,” said Burke, whose audience at Ball Arena included his wife and parents. “It's cool."
He played nearly 11 minutes and had one shot.
“Definitely lived up to expectations,” Burke said of his debut.
Boston: At Arizona on Friday night.
Colorado: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night.
Pat Graham, The Associated Press