The speedy, snarly Avalanche are one of three teams to beat the Bruins in regulation. They are also only team to do it twice, and the only one to do it at TD Garden.
There was no late-game magic for Boston, which couldn’t generate enough against their Western visitors. In a low-shot game, the Avalanche emerged with a 4-1 win Saturday night after scoring three times in the first two periods.
David Pastrnak, roughed up all game, once again, drew a high-sticking call on Gabriel Landeskog with 2:21 left. The Bruins emptied their net to make it a 6-on-4 power play, but found nothing. Out of the box, Landeskog pitched it home with 2.2 seconds left.
Jaroslav Halak made 16 saves on 20 shots.
The Bruins (20-4-5) still have a double-digit lead (13 points) on second-place Florida in the Atlantic Division. Their point streak ended at 13 games (9-0-4).
Colorado (19-8-2), running in second place in the Central, extended its win streak to six games.
Observations from the game:
■ Just after four minutes into the third, young Avs star Cale Makar left for the dressing room after taking a pop from Brad Marchand. Seemed like a left shoulder injury.
■ After nearly 46 minutes of no penalties, we saw a rash of them. Sean Kuraly drew a high stick, and the Bruins couldn’t cash in despite leaving Marchand and Torey Krug out there for the full two minutes. Marchand put the Bruins down when, after that long shift, he hooked Ryan Graves coming out of the box.
■ The Bruins were buzzing on the PK, and that lasted 25 seconds. Zdeno Chara drew a high-sticking call while partner Brandon Carlo was killing a Colorado rush.
■ To these eyes, Colorado looks like the best team in the league. Just as they did when they beat the Bruins on Oct. 10 in Denver, the ultra-fast Avalanche caused plenty of Bruins turnovers, and the top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen was dangerous on every shift.
■ The Avalanche end of the ice was forbidden territory for much of the night. The Bruins recorded eight shots on net through 40 minutes, and had 25 attempts. They did a solid job of limiting Colorado’s chances (14 shots, 32 attempts) but the Avs held a 3-1 lead through two periods.
■ An opportunistic Andre Burakovsky put the visitors up by two goals with 1:39 left in the second. Burakovsky, who scored the dagger when the Bruins lost Oct. 10 in Denver, took a chip from MacKinnon and raced up the wing. Charlie McAvoy offered a bit too much help on partner Matt Grzelcyk, leaving Burakovsky open to zip a drag-snapshot past Halak.
■ That came after some of the best opportunities of the night for Boston, which held possession in the Avs’ zone for more than a minute.
■ Inability to clear the zone led to defenseman Ian Cole teeing up a slapper for a 2-1 goal at 9:17 of the second. The Avs worked the perimeter, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen unable to get it back, and Cole scored the go-ahead goal in his 500th game.
■ The Bruins struck first when Chris Wagner, whose primary job was to help shut down the MacKinnon line, tipped a John Moore point drive at 13:14 of the first. Wagner, who played 26 games for the Avalanche in 2015-16 before being waived, benefitted from some strong work by Anders Bjork. The young winger worked the wall and freed Moore for a one-timer from out high.
■ Wagner, along with Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom, drew almost every shift against the MacKinnon line. In the opening minute, MacKinnon worked free for a snapper from the high slot, and Rantanen had a follow-up chance. They did a better job of erasing time and space on the next few shifts. Colorado outshot Boston, 9-4, in the first period.
■ Carlo, the Colorado Springs native and boyhood Avalanche fan, showed a bit of his developing offensive game against the Avs’ fourth line. He made a strong keep at the blue line, then rolled to the net for a chace.
■ The first questionable hit of the night was thrown by Avs bruiser Nikita Zadorov, who concussed Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Thursday with an uncalled slew-foot. Zadorov, 6 feet 6 inches and 235 pounds, banged Nordstrom against the glass. He later bullied David Pastrnak on the wall, and got into Pastrnak a few more times.
■ The Bruins had a bit of post-whistle pushback against the Avs. With 1:01 left in the first period, Kuraly chopped at MacKinnon and stared him down. Chara came in to police matters.
■ Brett Ritchie, returning to the lineup after a six-game absence, found himself on a breakaway in the first period. He sprayed a shot wide.
■ The Avalanche tied it on a weird one, with 2:35 left in the first. Standing a few feet away, Valeri Nichushkin chopped down a Matt Nieto shot from the slot, then dragged around Jaroslav Halak. Par Lindholm nearly saved it, but it trickled over the line. Nichushkin, ex- of Dallas, once went 91 games without a goal. He scored his fourth in his last seven.
■ After that goal, Avalanche starter Philipp Grubauer departed with an unknown ailment, perhaps hurt on Ritchie’s break-in. Pavel Francouz played the last 2:35 of the first.
■ With 12:32 left in the second, Rantanen nearly made the Bruins pay after Chara lost his stick. Nordstrom, who gave Chara his (much shorter) stick, was without a weapon as Rantanen walked down the slot. Rantanen’s backhander went off the pipe and out of play.
Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports.