December 17, 2018
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Avalanche continue to dominate Bruins in Boston

BOSTON — Nate MacKinnon was 2 1/2 years old the last time the Colorado Avalanche lost a hockey game at TD Garden.

On Thursday night, MacKinnon scored a short-handed goal to help the Avalanche end a six-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.

Colorado hasn’t lost in Boston since 1998.

“I had no idea,” MacKinnon said after the Avalanche, who came in with an NHL-worst 19 points, improved to 10-0 plus one tie in the 11 games since their last road loss to the Bruins. “I know we’ve been hot here my first three years. I did not know that stat. That’s cool.”

Jarome Iginla, who was in the league when Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy lost 4-1 to the Bruins on March 30, 1998 — Anson Carter scoring two goals — laughed when he heard MacKinnon asked if he knew he was a toddler the last time Colorado fell in Boston.

“Really? That’s funny,” Iginla said.

Told it was Roy, who stepped down as the Avalanche’s coach after last season, who was in goal for that game, MacKinnon said, “Oh yeah? Nice.”

MacKinnon added: “We only come here once a year (now). I’m sure if we came here more, they’d get ready and end it, but once a year you don’t really think about it as much — but we’re happy to get the win.”

The Avalanche came in 0-5-1 in their previous six games but handed the Bruins their second loss in as many nights.

After Matt Duchene scored his 10th goal of the season — all on the road — MacKinnon made it 2-0 with his seventh, the team’s second short-handed goal of the season.

While MacKinnon said it was “a long time” since his team scored the first goal, Iginla said, “We had a good start. We knew they were coming off playing last night and we were needing to come out with a lot of energy, and I think we did that.”

A John Mitchell goal (his first) made it 3-0 (all three goals unassisted) before the sizzling Boston’s David Pastrnak scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season –leaving him tied with Sidney Crosby for the league lead — by beating Calvin Pickard 80 seconds apart. Colorado’s Carl Soderberg beat Anton Khudobin to answer that goal.

“You could tell they were tired of losing,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of the Avalanche.

Pickard made 29 saves to raise his record to 5-2-1. Colorado’s No. 1 starter, Semyon Varlamov, is 5-12-0.

Khudobin made 17 stops but fell to 1-4-0. The Bruins (15-11-2) are 1-7-0 in games not started by Tuukka Rask, who shut out the Avalanche 2-0 on Nov. 13.

“Had we been smarter from the get-go, we would have had a chance,” Julien said.

Pastrnak has 18 goals in 23 games and five in the past three. He is 11 goals ahead of anyone else on the team.

Iginla was impressed with Pastrnak and linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

“They had a good chemistry,” the former Bruin said. “All three of those guys create a lot, they’re dangerous players. They can all shoot the puck, move the puck.

“You play with Bergeron, you don’t play in your own zone too often.”

Duchene opened the scoring during a four-on-four situation, the Bruins giving him too much time to get control of the puck in front of the net before he beat Khudobin 5:30 into the game. Later in the period, MacKinnon cashed in off a crazy play.

The Bruins, who allowed their fourth short-handed goal of the season, were on the power play when Boston’s Torey Krug was hit with a pass that left him awkwardly trying to keep the puck in the Colorado zone. He kept the puck on the line but fell, allowing MacKinnon to pick up the puck and sail in alone for the short-handed goal at 12:57.

Mitchell scored his first goal in 28 games dating to last season when he beat Khudobin from a bad angle 4:09 into the second period.

NOTES: Colorado LW Gabriel Landeskog, hoping to return from a lower body injury, was slowed by illness and missed his 10th consecutive game. … The Bruins’ 11-game home winless streak against the Avalanche is two games longer than their 0-7-2 home drought against the Montreal Canadiens. … Colorado RW Jarome Iginla played in his 1,499th game and is gunning for his 12th 82-game season out of his 20 in the NHL. … The entire Bruins team will go on a holiday shopping spree for charity Friday. … The Avalanche cap their four-game road trip at Montreal and Toronto on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, while the Bruins host the Maple Leafs on Sunday and visit Montreal on Monday.

Stars activate Hudler

The Dallas Stars activated forward Jiri Hudler from injured reserve after he missed 23 games due to an undisclosed illness.

Hudler, 32, has not recorded a point in four games this season. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound native of Olomouc, Czech Republic, was signed by Dallas as a free agent on Aug. 24.

The Stars also reassigned forward Jason Dickinson to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

Jets reassign Connor

The Winnipeg Jets reassigned forward Kyle Connor to the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.

Connor, 20, has one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Jets this season. The native of Shelby Township, Mich., is in his first professional season after spending last year at the University of Michigan, where he led the NCAA with 71 points (35 goals, 36 assists) in 38 games.

Connor was selected by the Jets in the first round (17th overall) of the 2015 NHL draft.

Lightning send Koekkoek to Crunch

The Tampa Bay Lightning reassigned defenseman Slater Koekkoek to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

Koekkoek, 22, appeared in 17 games with the Lightning this season, posting four assists and six penalty minutes. He recorded a pair of assists in his season debut on Nov. 1 against the New York Islanders. The Mountain, Ontario, also skated in five games with the Crunch this season, with a pair of assists.

In 29 career NHL games, all with the Lightning over the past two seasons, the 6-foot-2, 193-pound Koekkoek has five assists. He was originally selected by the Lightning in the first round (10th overall) of the 2012 NHL draft.


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