DENVER (AP)—Facing an early-season six-game road trip, the Boston Bruins knew who to turn to for leadership.
“We challenged Joe almost daily on this trip to be the best player,” Boston coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s so gifted, and when he works and battles, I don’t know if there is anyone better than he is in the league. He has been a big leader the last few games.”
“I don’t know the answer,” Sullivan said. “It’s too early in the season to say that we are a good road team. We’ve gotten some decent wins, and there are a lot of reasons behind that. It starts with our goaltending. They’ve (Potvin and Andrew Raycroft) been the backbone of our team so far.
“As the trip went on we battled hard and played better. From the second period of the L.A. game (Saturday night) up to this point, I think our team discovered itself.”
Thornton said the Bruins “showed what we are made of the last three games” against Los Angeles, Anaheim and Colorado.
“Nobody wins a Stanley Cup in October,” Thornton said, “so we won’t make that big a deal of it. But it seems like we’re starting to jell as a team. That’s something we didn’t do last year.”
David Aebischer had 30 saves for Colorado, which has lost three of its first five games.
After the game, Avalanche players called a team meeting.
“It’s something that happens during the season from time to time,” Colorado coach Tony Granato said. “I’m glad they did that. We have enough leaders in that room. They know when the door needs to be shut and they need to discuss things on their own.”
Colorado captain Joe Sakic said he was “very surprised and very disappointed” by the Avs’ start.
“We’ve got a lot of skill here, and when you don’t play together and you don’t play smart and simple, you get beat,” he said. “And that’s what happened tonight.
“It’s up to us to come in with our working boots on and come ready to work out.”
The Bruins, who outshot the Avalanche 17-8 in the first period, got the next two goals. Rolston took a pass between two defenders and scored from the left circle at 10:58. It was his fifth goal in four games.
After Colorado’s Joe Sakic hit the crossbar on a breakaway, Jillson beat Aebischer from the right circle at 19:15.
Boston’s Michal Grosek made it 3-1 late in the second period. Twelve seconds after leaving the penalty box, Grosek scored from the right circle at 19:58 after Thornton dug the puck off the boards and fed Murray in the slot.
Mike Knuble scored at 10:37 of the third period after Murray stole the puckfrom Sakic and passed to Thornton.
Colorado rookie forward Marek Svatos will undergo surgery in the next few days to repair a partially dislocated shoulder. He will be out indefinitely. … Avalanche forward Peter Worrell (knee tendinitis) practiced Monday and might make his Colorado debut on Thursday against Edmonton. … Boston rallied to win road games on back-to-back nights Saturday and Sunday at Los Angeles and Anaheim. … The Bruins are 4-0-1 in their last five games. …It was the first of five games in eight days for the Avalanche.