Boston Bruins vs. Colorado Avalanche Pick & Prediction JANUARY 18th 2024

Looking to extend their points streak to seven games, the Boston Bruins host the Colorado Avalanche in a battle of NHL heavyweights Thursday night.

Boston shut out New Jersey 3-0 Monday to cushion its lead in the overall NHL standings and continue a points streak (3-0-3) that began Jan. 6.

While Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak and Trent Frederic scored goals, the Bruins left the goaltending to Jeremy Swayman, who made 31 saves in his third consecutive start since Linus Ullmark was sidelined with an injury.

“It’s nice to see him have this opportunity. If Linus wasn’t injured, we wouldn’t have seen it,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. “His makeup is someone that wants the net every night. … His mental attitude and his positivity, he exudes it. And it goes through our bench.”

The shutout was Swayman’s third this season and the 12th of his career in only 112 regular-season games.

The 25-year-old Swayman is 2-0-1 with a .937 save percentage during his run carrying the load in goal, and he wants everyone to know exactly what his coach said: He wants the net.

“That’s what I want my teammates to know, that’s what I want my coaches to know and that’s what I want this organization to know,” Swayman said. “I love being in the net, that’s where I’m most comfortable and it’s what I was born to do.”

Ullmark did return to practice Wednesday, but it was unknown whether he will start or back up Swayman in Thursday’s game.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Jesus, that might be a while,'” Montgomery said of Ullmark. “It’s a good thing that he’s got good remedy powers because it’s not going to be as long as we thought.”

Defenseman Brandon Carlo and forward Matt Poitras, who were also hurt during a four-game road trip that concluded last weekend, could also return Thursday.

Coyle’s recent hot streak includes five goals and 11 points in 11 games since the holiday break.

Colorado’s recent run of four wins in five games began with a 4-3 shootout win on Jan. 8 over Boston. After losing 4-3 in Montreal on Monday, the Avalanche scored four third-period goals to erase a 4-3 deficit and win 7-4 the following night against Ottawa.

“We were giving up too much (through the first two periods), looking like we were lacking some energy, for sure,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We had bursts offensively, but when you’re a little tired, you’re kind of getting a little complacent, loose defensively, you know?”

Against the Senators, Mikko Rantanen scored twice while Nathan MacKinnon — who is on a nine-game points streak — had two assists and now leads the NHL with 49.

The game also featured Jason Polin scoring his first NHL goal and a 36-save, season-debut effort from goaltender Justus Annunen, who was recalled from the American Hockey League last weekend.

Bednar was impressed with Polin’s ability at both ends. The 24-year-old product of Western Michigan University has played in five NHL games.

“He’s really paid attention to his checking details and making sure he’s a better 200-foot player than he was in college,” Bednar said.

The Avalanche will need to find offense from within after 22-goal scorer and power-play threat Valeri Nichushkin entered the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program on Monday.

“Guys are going to have to step up,” Colorado defenseman Devon Toews said. “That’s what we’ve been doing over the last few years.”

–Field Level Media

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