The Bruins were looking to win their second straight game under new coach Bruce Cassidy in a matinee against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. It was the first of two games against the Canucks this year.
It was the Canucks who struck first just under five minutes into the first period. David Pastrnak turned the puck over in the offensive zone and the Canucks came down three on one. Alex Burrows, Bo Horvat, and Jannik Hansen ran a perfect triangle passing play. Anton Khudobin was able to stop the original Hansen shot, but Horvat was able to find the rebound and put it past Khudobin for the first goal of the game.
After the Bruins went down early, they took control of the game and was able to get some offensive momentum. With the momentum, the Bruins were able to get a powerplay opportunity as Henrik Sedin went to the box for tripping on Zdeno Chara. The Bruins powerplay could not muster up anything to tie the game.
Few minutes later though, the Bruins were able to get the equalizer. Ryan Spooner showed great speed in the neutral zone that backed up the defense. He threaded the needle with a pass to find Kevan Miller streaking down the right side. Miller’s shot beat Ryan Miller through the six hole and into the net to tie the game at one.
The Canucks drew their first penalty of the game as Dominic Moore would sit for tripping. The 2nd ranked penalty kill for the Bruins went to work and did a tremendous job of getting sticks on pucks. The Canucks did not get a shot on goal during their man advantage as Moore penalty came to an end.
Just minutes later the Bruins killed off the penalty, they drew a powerplay of their own as Chris Tanev got called for hooking against Pastrnak. The Bruins were looking for a different result this time around as their first one did not go so well.
The first unit really struggled to get the offense going during the first half of the powerplay. The second unit got the puck in the zone and let David Krejci go to work. Krejci did an excellent job of setting up on the half wall and attacked the net to force a two on one. Krejci delivered a sweet saucer pass over to Frank Vatrano, who one timed it into the vacant net for the 2-1 lead. The Bruins headed to the second period up by a goal.
The second period was not very kind to the Bruins as the Canucks completely took over the game and dominated the period. They outshot the Bruins by a 15-3 margin and the Bruins did not have much offensive pressure.
The best chance the Bruins had was by Krejci’s line. Pastrnak and Peter Cehlarik, who was playing in his first NHL game of his career, got in on the forecheck and caused a turnover from the Canucks defense. The puck trickled out front and Krejci tried to roof it to the glove side of Miller. Miller was able to stone Krejci point blank and keep it a 2-1 game.
That save proved to be a big one for the Canucks as they took control from there. Pastrnak took a penalty to give the Canucks their second man advantage of the game. The penalty kill did give up shots on this time around, but none of them were from a high scoring area as Khudobin was able to turn them aside and get back to even strength.
The Canucks almost tied the game twice in the second period. The first chance came from the Sedin twins. Chara turned the puck over the blue line and allowed the Sedin’s to come down 2 on 1. Daniel passed it over to Henrik who walked in and fired it on goal. The puck beat Khudobin, but rang off the crossbar and out.
The next chance came from Horvat. More carelessness from the Bruins allowed Horvat to get the puck and make a quick spinorama play that almost snuck by a sprawling Khudobin. Khudobin was able to get his pad on it as Horvat looked to rafters in disbelief.
It looked like the Bruins were going to head to the third up by a goal, but another turnover cost them real late in the period. Pastrnak got the puck along the boards and circled behind the net. The forecheck of the Canucks met him there and was able to get the puck. Horvat knowing time was about to expire, threw the puck towards goal. The rebound kicked towards Burrows, who did the same. The puck went through the legs of Khudobin and in the back of the net, but the buzzer went off. After a quick review, the goal was scored with just .5 seconds in the period to tie the game at two heading into the third period.
With the third period underway, the Bruins were looking to regain the lead and grab some momentum. It did not take the Bruins long to retake the lead. The third line of the Bruins came up huge on the forecheck as Vatrano sent the puck to Jimmy Hayes. Hayes made a drop pass to Colin Miller at the point. Miller stepped into a shot that was lasered over the blocker of Miller and into the back of the net. Vatrano with his third point of the night as the Bruins go up 3-2.
The Bruins were playing a much better third period than they were in the second period and the goal allowed them to get more offensive zone time. They could not extend the lead though and kept Vancouver in the game. In doing so, Vancouver was able to draw a penalty on a questionable call. Tim Schaller went to the box for slashing, but it seemed just like a normal defensive play.
Unfortunately, the Canucks finally capitalized on the man advantage. The Bruins did a good job of killing off the first half of the penalty, but could not kill it off entirely. Horvat seemed to get his second of the game as the Canucks powerplay was able to spread the Bruins defense out. The d to d pass got Marchand to bite and opened up the middle of the ice for Markus Granlund. Granlund shot looked to be going wide, but it deflected off Horvat stick and into the net to tie the game at three.
The game looked like it was going to head to overtime with the teams tied at three late in the period, but Pastrnak had other ideas. Adam McQuaid gave the puck to Krejci up the boards to start the breakout. Krejci found a streaking Pastrnak, who put the puck in between his legs to keep his speed. Pastrnak made a nifty cutback move and wristed it on goal. The puck squeaked through Miller and into the net to retake the lead 4-3 with under two minutes remaining in the third.
The Canucks had one last chance to tie the game and extend it to overtime, but luckily for the Bruins their best friend helped them out. Henrik Sedin found himself alone backdoor, but his shot hit the post as the Bruins were able to shut down the rest of the attack and get their second straight win.
The Bruins will stay at home for one last game before their mandatory bye week. The Bruins will be playing their hated rival, Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. This game will be played on NBCSN instead of NESN. Puck drop is at 7:30PM.