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Avalanche shut out Bruins in Tuukka Rask’s season debut

10.10.11 at 3:20 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask made a good first impression for the 2011-12 season, but it wasn’t enough as the Avalanche defeated the Bruins, 1-0, in Monday’s matinee at TD Garden.

Milan Hejduk beat Rask with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle at 7:57 of the third period to get the Avalanche on the board. Rask was making his season debut for the Bruins after starting 27 games last season.

The Bruins had difficulty beating Colorado net minder Semyon Varlamov throughout the day. Varlamov, who came to the Avalanche in an offseason trade with the Capitals, stopped all 30 shots he faced. Rask stopped 35 of 36 shots.

The Bruins are now 1-2-0 on the season. After playing their first three games of the season at home, the B’s will play the next two on the road. Tomas Kaberle and the Hurricanes will host the defending champions on Wednesday, and the B’s will face the 2009-10 champion Blackhawks in Chicago on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Aside from a 2-on-1 chance with Milan Lucic, there’s been very little sign of life from Nathan Horton thus far. The Bruins’ top right-winger had another zero-shot day, and has just one shot on goal through three games. Horton hasn’t been as aggressive or physically engaging as he was when he was establishing himself as a big-game player last spring. The expectation here is that he will end up leading the team in scoring, but it’s taken him a while to get going.

Rich Peverley had a golden opportunity to tie the game in front with seconds remaining but couldn’t get a handle on it. He still leads the Bruins with two goals this season.

– This game just had the feel of a 2010-11 Rask start: solid goaltending, but nothing really going on in front of him. The B’s did a good job of clearing pucks out in front, but the Bruins’ skaters put forth a generally drowsy performance. Rask won only 11 games last season as a result of that.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– The 2011-12 version of Tyler Seguin — the one that’s less timid and more willing to go in the tough areas — got his first real test when he was crushed along the boards in the first period by Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson.

Seguin didn’t let himself get in position to be hit often as a rookie, so it may have been the biggest hit he’s taken in his young career. That didn’t deter him from chasing a puck in the corner with a man on him in his own zone later in the first period. The Colorado player chasing him eventually went off for a change, but Seguin clearly made the effort to get there first and was able to send a long pass through the neutral zone to Peverley at the far blue line.

– Another game, another 60 minutes in which the second line was the Bruins’ best trio. Brad Marchand had said prior to the season that his goal was to get more shots on goal this season, and he hasn’t lacked in that regard. He had three shots on goal through the first two periods, while Patrice Bergeron led the Bruins with five. Marchand had the Bruins’ best opportunity through the first 40 minutes when Varlamov got a toe on his 2-on-1 bid with Bergeron.

– The Bruins’ penalty kill was strong when it needed to be. The B’s ran into some penalty trouble early. Zdeno Chara went off 1:56 into the game for cross-checking Ryan O’Bryne, and Adam McQuaid flipped the puck over the glass from his own zone to set up a 27-second 5-on-3. The Avalanche applied a ton of pressure, but Bergeron, Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Rask were able to weather the storm.

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