The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche have had their issues in overtime and shootouts this season. When the teams meet in Boston on Sunday afternoon they bring a combined 18 losses after regulation into the matchup.
Boston, at least, has a little momentum after beating Los Angeles in overtime on Saturday after coughing up a two-goal lead in the third period. The Avalanche, meanwhile, lost for the 10th time in games decided in overtime or a shootout after a 4-3 loss at the New York Islanders on Saturday.
"It's frustrating," center Nathan MacKinnon told Altitude TV after the loss in Brooklyn. "We missed a lot of chances. We've got to find a way to score. It (stinks)."
Things do not get any easier for Colorado (22-22-10). The Avalanche are facing another stingy defensive team. The Islanders rank first in the league in fewest goals allowed and Boston entered Sunday third in the NHL in goals against.
Boston will play a second straight game without one of its best blueliners. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk had been nursing a lower-body injury and the Bruins felt giving him the weekend off might help for the stretch run.
"I would suspect missing two, maybe three days on the ice," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Saturday morning to reporters. "I think tomorrow would be tough. He is the type of player that doesn't need a ton of reps, he's quick and can jump right in there. So I wouldn't rule him out, but it's not ideal."
Grzelcyk suffered the injury against the New York Rangers in January.
"It was in New York, he played through it," Cassidy said. "Wasn't major, something more that was nagging. ... If we didn't have anybody else, could he play? Possibly. So it's not like it's anything structural, just sort of a pulled muscle, and want to let it calm down."
The Bruins (30-17-8) survived without Grzelcyk against the Kings. Boston trailed 2-1 after two periods but got goals 90 seconds apart early in the third and a shorthanded goal before the Kings rallied to send it to overtime where Patrice Bergeron won it.
As frustrated as Colorado is with its downward spiral that has spanned two months, a win in Boston on Sunday could make it a successful road trip. The Avalanche earned a point against each of the Metropolitan Division's top two teams and can get two against the Bruins.
Avoiding a slow start will be important.
"It's been a lot better. It's just only two games but we've played really well and we've had good starts," MacKinnon told Altitude TV. "That's been our problem lately, is our starts. The last two games are good but we need points, we need two every night and it's unfortunate we lost two in overtime."
Fatigue shouldn't be a factor for Colorado, says forward Colin Wilson.
"Afternoon back-to-backs are fine, they're great," Wilson told Altitude TV after the loss to New York. "You get a good night's rest, get to the city early. We're looking forward to the challenge, everybody should be rested after a good sleep. We're not getting in at 3 a.m."
--Field Level Media