NHL Hockey

Avs aim to rebound vs. banged-up Bruins

BOSTON -- Torey Krug, a key to the Boston defense, returned to practice Saturday and could be a game-time decision when the Bruins host the Colorado Avalanche in a holiday matinee on Monday.

Krug, who suffered a broken jaw in a preseason game, still isn't eating solid food but was able to practice and could play after missing just one regular season game -- and could be available for the first half of this home and home that ends Wednesday in Denver.

"It's tough sitting up in the stands, even when your team's winning, you want to be a part of it, you want to help contribute," Krug said. "Obviously you see the excitement, you see the pace that we were playing with and the speed of the young guys and you can't forget the guys that have been here the whole time putting in the work. They look good as well. I just want to get back in there and help."

The Avalanche, not predicted to do great things in 2017-18, opened the season with a 4-2 win over the Rangers in New York but dropped a 4-1 decision at New Jersey on Saturday night.

After allowing two power-play goals in their opener, the Avalanche surrendered three Saturday. What made it tougher to swallow, Will Butcher, who declined to sign with Colorado before coming to terms with New Jersey, assisted on all three goals.

The Avalanche went 0-for-6 on the power play in the loss, losing despite outshooting the Devils 41-39.

"We didn't execute," said Colorado captain Gabe Landeskog. "We're working hard enough but not working smart enough. We're skating everywhere, not really supporting each other, and not winning the battles. Special teams is going to be important and that's something we have to clean up."

The Avalanche are playing with Matt Duchene on their active roster after a summer of trade rumors and Duchene saying he reported to training camp to honor his contract and the fans.

He had a goal and an assist in the opening win and didn't have a point Saturday, but former Avalanche star went on Swedish TV and said it was time to "bench and trade Duchene" for the good of the team.

The Avalanche have not lost at TD Garden since 1998, posting 10 wins and a tie since.

The Bruins scored during a 5-on-3 in their opener, with another goal, by debuting rookie Jake DeBrusk, scored just as another power play was ending.

David Krejci matched his career high with three assists in the game, the eighth time in his career he'd done that but the first since March 15, 2014. The Bruins, who defeated the Nashville Predators in Thursday night's opener, found out that day that David Backes will miss at least 4-to-5 weeks with diverticulitis. They played that game without leader Patrice Bergeron (knee) and lost Noel Acciari to a broken left index finger that required surgery and will cost him six weeks, according to the team.

Austin Czarnik, who has been out with an illness, also returned to practice Saturday but said, "As for Monday, we don't know yet."

Bergeron skated on his own Saturday and was back at full practice Sunday, coach Bruce Cassidy saying Saturday, "We're going to reassess in the morning (on Sunday). The more time he misses practice, the more doubtful it looks. But we'll see how he is tomorrow."

Sunday, Bergeron said, "Being with the team was definitely a step forward. I'm feeling good but then we still want to be cautious, so the status is the same, I guess."

The Bruins, relying on youth after a quiet offseason, got the first three goals of the season from players 21, 20 and 19 years old and built a 4-1 lead before the Predators scored a pair of late power play goals -- one during a 6-on-3.

Updated October 9, 2017

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