DENVER (AP) Jimmy Hayes, the first one is always the toughest to earn, right?
''It's nice to go to the net and bang home a rebound,'' he said.
Not his goal. A win.
''Sorry,'' Hayes quickly responded, ''feel selfish or something.''
Hardly the case. Hayes had his first goal of the season and three assists to help the Boston Bruins beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 on Wednesday night and avoid their worst start in 50 years.
The Bruins raced out to a 5-0 lead by the second period and cruised from there to end a three-game slide.
''That's huge for our team,'' Hayes said. ''Carry the momentum.''
Kevan Miller and Hayes scored 2:22 apart in the first period, with Tyler Randell, Chris Kelly and Ryan Spooner scoring in the second. Spooner's goal with 4:28 remaining in the second ended a rough evening for Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 14 of 19 shots before being relieved by Reto Berra.
David Krejci added an empty-net goal with 1:29 left.
For Randell, it was the first goal in the first game of his NHL career. He plans to give the puck to his parents.
''I never expected this to happen in the first game, but I'm pretty excited,'' Randell said.
Just that sort of night for the Bruins.
Jonas Gustavsson started for Tuukka Rask and stymied a high-powered Avalanche team that had 10 goals in two games. Gabriel Landeskog had a power-play goal and John Mitchell added another for Colorado.
With the win, the Bruins avoided some dubious history. They hadn't started 0-4 in a season since 1964-65.
Boston was without forward Brad Marchand (concussion) and defenseman Joe Morrow, who has the flu. The team spread out the scoring with 10 different players picking up a point, including two assists by captain Zdeno Chara.
''I feel so sorry. I didn't play well today,'' Varlamov said. ''Nineteen shots, five goals - what can I say? I have to be better.''
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt the same way about his team's play.
''I'm not happy. I'm not happy at all,'' Roy said. ''We didn't compete like we should.''
Rask has gotten off to a rocky start this season. He has a 4.72 goals-against average and an .846 save percentage. Those aren't very Rask-like numbers, considering he's currently third in career GAA (2.18) and tied for second in save percentage (.925) among active goaltenders with at least 50 appearances.
Gustavsson attended training camp with the Bruins on a professional tryout and was signed earlier this month. The 30-year-old was limited by injuries last season with Detroit, going 3-3-1 with one shutout.
His best save of the night was when he turned back Avalanche rookie Mikko Rantanen on a breakaway late in the first period. In the third period, Gustavsson turned back Landeskog twice on a play - once by using his left leg and again with his chest.
''My goal is to try to stay healthy, so I can really work on my game and try to be there for the guys when they need me,'' said Gustavsson, who finished with 20 saves.
Miller got Boston off to a fast start when he sent a slap shot over the right shoulder of a screened Varlamov. Moments later, Hayes grabbed a rebound and pushed it in for his first goal of the season.
Carl Soderberg finished with no points and a minus-four against his former team. Really, though, no one could get on track for Colorado.
''Getting outworked, that's unacceptable,'' Landeskog said. ''Once we got our legs going and started playing better, we just started making bad decisions with the puck and it ended up costing us against a good team like this.''
NOTES: Bruins D Tommy Cross played in his first NHL game. He was called up from Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. ... Avalanche F Jarome Iginla played in his 1,395th NHL game, tying him with Roman Hamrlik for 35th place on the league's all-time list.