Since the beginning of the season, January 7th has been a date circled by both Bruins and Canucks fans worldwide, eager to relive the Stanley Cup magic from last spring.
After a short-lived hangover, one that affected both clubs, the Bruins and Canucks have worked their way back to the top. Each team has over 50 points and currently leads their division, once again establishing themselves amongst the NHL’s elite.
Tied for both first and second in the league in points, Henrik and Daniel Sedin have continued their year-in, year-out success, but will have a tough task on hand going against the stout defense of the Bruins. Look for Boston to be highly physical with the Swedish superstars, hoping to carryover last season’s recipe for success in the Stanley Cup finals.
Much to the disappointment of Bruins nation, Roberto Luongo did not make his start for redemption today in Boston; rather it was local product (Marblehead native and BC alum) Cory Schneider in net for the Canucks. Opposing Schneider in net was Tim Thomas for the Bruins, hoping to haunt the Canucks once again, and continue Boston’s unbelievable goaltending success. Luongo sitting out was a bit of a surprise to everyone, as we expected this to be his golden chance to redeem himself.
When asked about the choice in his pre-game presser, Bruins coach Claude Julien expressed some strong feelings, “I don’t think I need to answer that because, first of all, it’s their business. I think they choose to run their team the way they want, and as far as I know, I think they feel the same way we do about our goaltending tandem. I think they have a lot of confidence in (Cory) Schneider. To be honest with you, I would have no issues with putting Tuukka Rask in net today with the way he’s played. Maybe for people, it seems to mean a lot, but I think it’s his decision. They’ve got two good goaltenders the way we do.”
Considering its now the regular season I expected a very scrappy game, but a disciplined effort would be of no surprise as well.
The Bruins got on the power play first, but failed to capitalize on any of their chances. Both goaltenders looked sharp in the early going.
It didn’t take a while for emotions to get carried awhile, as a minor brawl took place in front of the Vancouver bench just four minutes into the game, everyone grabbing a partner. The most notable fight was Nathan Horton against Dale Weise, who squared up near center ice, both landing punches. Most of the other players exchanged words, each team receiving a plethora of penalties. Milan Lucic was given the boot for jumping off his bench to help teammate Shawn Thornton, and could face a suspension as a result of his actions.
Following the game’s first round of undisciplined play, the Canucks found themselves on a two minute, five on three power play, looking to turn in the game’s first goal. Shortly thereafter, a loose puck squirted right to Ryan Kesler, who easily beat Thomas to accomplish this feat. The assists went to Sami Salo and Daniel Sedin.
The Bruins had two more power play chances in the period, but were unable to beat Schneider.
Following one more fight, and a few more matching penalties, Brad Marchand put the Bruins on board with a nifty backhand move. Tyler Seguin set up the play, finding Marchand in front of the net with an absolutely tremendous feed. The other assist went to Patrice Bergeron. Seguin’s vision has really showed this past week, as he’s made beautiful passes in back to back games now. The kid looks to be breaking through his recent sophomore slump.
At the end of the period the score was knotted at one.
Dan Paille began the second period with a shorthanded rush, getting passed the Vancouver defense only to be hauled down; he was granted a penalty shot, but stopped on a strong glove save by Schneider.
Emotions were in check this period, giving the game much more of a hockey feel, as oppose to the war-like atmosphere felt in the first.
Benoit Pouliot stripped a Vancouver defensemen of the puck, finding Rich Peverley at the top of the circle to Schneider’s right, who sniped the puck past the goaltender, giving Boston a 2-1 lead.
This Bruins lead was short lived, as Seguin went to the box for a questionable tripping call, and Alex Burrows scored on a tipped, weak shot in front of the net. The assists went to Cody Hodgson, and Kevin Bieksa. Not the best goal for Thomas to give up.
The end of the second period solidified the Bruins fate. Marchand did a poor job of letting his emotions get the best of him, receiving a five-minute major penalty for clipping, and a game misconduct as well. While I believe Marchand deserved a penalty for the play, I am not sure a five-minute major was warranted.
Paying for the undisciplined play, the Bruins gave up a goal just two minutes into Marchand’s major penalty. Henrik Sedin scored the goal on a beautiful tip, off a shot from the point by Alexander Edler. The other assist went to Bieksa, his second of the game.
Things only got worse for Marchand and the Bruins from that point forward, as Hodgson added another power play goal on the major penalty. This gave Vancouver a two-goal lead early on in the third period, the lone assist going to Dan Hamhuis on the play.
David Krejci then added a rebound goal off a valiant effort, but the Bruins were unable to complete the comeback, falling to Vancouver in this Stanley Cup rematch.
While its nice to see the Bruins play with a pulse, the undisciplined play cost them in this one, as they were absolutely dominated in terms of special teams play.
Next up the Bruins face Winnipeg at TD Garden, Tuesday night; hopefully they can carry over some emotion, use it the right way, and beat the Jets.
From The Room