Avalanche-Bruins Preview

BY foxsports • December 14, 2016

BOSTON -- One streak will end when the slumping Colorado Avalanche visit the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

The Avalanche are 0-5-1 in their past six games, but the franchise last lost in Boston in 1988 when it was still the Quebec Nordiques. That is a 10-game streak that would end if the Avalanche's current troubles continue.

Colorado, dead last in the NHL with only 19 points, spent the day in Boston on Wednesday, getting in a practice while the Bruins were playing in Washington.

The workout took place, but four players were back at the team hotel because of illness, including captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was supposed to return from a nine-game absence caused by a lower body injury but was suddenly deemed doubtful for the second game of a four-game trip.

The Avalanche, who fell to 9-14-1 with a 4-3 loss in Nashville on Tuesday night, will get defenseman Fedor Tyutin back from a two-game absence caused by a lower body injury. If Landeskog doesn't play Thursday, he should return in Montreal on Saturday.

"I don't know what that (illness) does for Landeskog," coach Jared Bednar said. "I'm assuming now after feeling sick and not getting that contact practice in (Wednesday) that he'll be another game, and we'll have to feel that situation out (Thursday) morning."

Colorado defenseman Francois Beauchemin also missed the practice, nursing a sore hand.

Bednar thought his team played better in Nashville, but the result was the same despite two goals by Matt Duchene, his eighth and ninth of the season, all on the road.

While the Avalanche come into the game on a losing streak, the Bruins are 3-0-1 in their past four. They came all the way back from three goals down before losing in Washington on Wednesday as goaltender Tuukka Rask fell to 0-5-4 against the Caps.

After digging the huge hole, the Bruins dominated the game, at one point holding Washington without a shot on goal for some 26 minutes. However, a faulty line change in the OT led to Nicklas Backstrom's winner.

"Just goes to show that you've got to trust the system, stick with it, and good things will happen," Rask said after the game.

Said coach Claude Julien: "I think it was a real good effort by our hockey team tonight. Probably at the end you think you deserve better, but against a team like that, you take the point and move on because we've got a game (Thursday) night and I think it's important for us to get out of here and start focusing on (Thursday)."

With Rask playing Wednesday -- and keeping his team in the game when the Caps took a 2-0 lead -- it is likely backup Anton Khudobin will be in goal Thursday night. Khudobin won his last start, Dec. 1 against the Carolina Panthers in overtime -- the first win of the season for a Boston goalie other than Rask.

Khudobin is 1-3 on the season, and he is 1-1 in two career starts against the Avalanche.

Calvin Pickard, who has never faced the Bruins, will bring a 7-4-2 record, a 2.44 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage into the game, shining numbers next to Semyon Varlamov's 5-12-0 with a 3.08 GAA.

The Avalanche tied the game at Nashville three times before losing on a five-on-three, power-play goal.

"For me, that was the hardest we played -- that was the best game we played in a couple weeks," Bednar said. "We had some chances to square that game up, and it was a tough way to fall behind on the five-on-three."



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