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Bruins rout Avalanche for first win of season

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov watches a Bruins celebration by (from left) Joonas Kemppainen, Tyler Randell, Adam McQuaid, and Zac Rinaldo after Randell scored his first career NHL goal in the second period Wednesday night. David Zalubowski/Associated Press

DENVER — With seven minutes remaining in the second period, the chant rang out: “Let’s go, Bruins! Let’s go, Bruins!” The paper bags removed from their heads, their hidden black-and-gold straightened and shaken out, the pride had returned, for the moment.

For a fan base bemoaning the general manager, the coach, the defense, the goaltender, and just about everything else related to the Bruins in the first week of the season — while the team itself had gone 0-3-0 — it must have come as a relief. The Bruins were rolling. They looked like a team. They looked — albeit in a one-game sample against a defense as porous as theirs has been at times — like maybe even a team with something of a future.


With less than five minutes remaining in the second period Wednesday night, the Bruins had gone up by five goals — having allowed none to the Colorado Avalanche on just 10 shots to that point — and were on their way to their first win of the season, 6-2, at the Pepsi Center.

“I think the focus and the determination of our group was really good tonight,” coach Claude Julien said. “I think we realized we were giving up too many goals and that we had to respect the part of the game without the puck.”

The Bruins, as unlikely as it seemed at the start of the night, had chased Colorado’s goalie, with Semyon Varlamov (14 saves on 19 shots) replaced by Reto Berra.

That came after an onslaught by the Bruins in the second, a period in which they scored three goals in five-on-five play, equaling their output in the first three games of the season.

And they already had tallied two in the first.

It started with Tyler Randell’s first goal of his NHL career — in his NHL debut — on a tip on a shot from Adam McQuaid at 3:46 of the second, and continued with two goals from the refashioned third line.


With Chris Kelly replacing Brett Connolly to join Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes, the line went from playing constantly in the defensive zone to playing constantly with the puck, showing off passing and finishing skills that hadn’t been evident earlier. Kelly scored at 9:30 off a slick backhand pass from Spooner at the top of the right circle to Kelly in the slot. One deke later, and Kelly had his first of the season. Spooner completed the line’s hat trick — Hayes had scored in the first — at 15:32.

Of course, if nothing else had happened in their favor past the first period against the Avalanche, it’s possible that it still could have been considered a massive step in the right direction. The Bruins played a significantly upgraded period of hockey, spending more time in the offensive zone and less time making mental mistakes and defensive miscues.

The Bruins went up by two goals in the first period — the second consecutive game in which they had done so — but this time they also finished the period up by two goals.

At first, it seemed as if it would be the same old thing, when Jarome Iginla earned a near breakaway after nabbing the puck from Zdeno Chara at the blue line, necessitating a hook from Chara just 31 seconds in. But the Bruins managed to kill the penalty, with Tommy Cross picking up some penalty kill slack, and the game picked up.


Kevan Miller notched his first goal of the season at 5:49, after Connolly nearly had one of his own on a two-on-one with David Krejci. That was followed by Miller’s shot from the top of the right circle with Krejci coming across the crease.

Jimmy Hayes gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the first period.Getty Images

Their second came not long after, with Hayes making every kid’s backyard dreams come true. A Chara shot bounced off the glove of Varlamov, with the Dorchester kid knocking home his first goal of the season — and first of his Bruins career — at 8:11, as Randell banged around in front of the net.

“That was a good one for me, just to get out of the way,” Hayes said of his goal. “I felt like it was taking forever to score a goal, but you go to the net and get rewarded, so it was nice.”

The Bruins, by this point, had taken up residence in the offensive zone, taking some of the pressure off their embattled defense, and allowing goalie Jonas Gustavsson to get settled in his first start of the season. That came in handy when, at 11:58, Gustavsson stoned Mikko Rantanen on a breakaway after Colin Miller fell down, leaving just Chara to unsuccessfully chase him down. Fortunately for the Bruins, Gustavsson was ready.

The Bruins did let up a bit in a sloppier third period, which included a soft goal given up by Gustavsson to John Mitchell at 11:20. The goalie finished the game having allowed two goals on 18 shots in the game.


With the Avalanche having narrowed the score to three goals, Colorado coach Patrick Roy opted to pull his goaltender with 3:25 left in the third period. Krejci, though, sealed the Bruins’ win with an empty netter at 18:31 of the third.

“Hopefully this is the first of many,” Julien said. “But we’ve still got a road trip to finish here. We came here to win two games. Right now we’re only halfway there.”

Jonas Gustavsson had 20 saves Wednesday night.Getty Images

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.