Saturday, December 14, 2013
W2W4: Bruins at Canucks, 10 p.m. ET
By Joe McDonald
The Boston Bruins (22-8-2, 46 points) will face the Vancouver Canucks (19-10-5, 43 points) on Saturday at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. ET). Here's what to watch for:
BACK TO THE SCENE: On June 15, 2011, the Bruins hoisted their first Stanley Cup in 39 years with a 4-0 victory over the Canucks in Game 7 at Rogers Arena. It was the first time in that epic series that the visiting team won. Goalie Tim Thomas made 37 saves to post the shutout, while Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand scored two goals apiece en route to a championship. While the Bruins celebrated on the ice, there were riots in the streets of Vancouver. Since that Cup-winning game, the Bruins have played the Canucks -- a 4-3 Vancouver win on Jan. 7, 2012, at TD Garden -- but this is the first time Boston has returned to Rogers Arena.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY: Both teams are on a roll. The Bruins have won four straight games, while the Canucks are winners of their last six. Boston is 8-2-0 in its last 10. Vancouver is 7-2-1 in that span. The Bruins are 9-5-0 on the road this season, while the Canucks have a 9-5-3 record on home ice. The Bruins are 4-0-0 against Pacific Division opponents, while Vancouver is 3-2-1 against Atlantic Division teams. During their current six-game winning streak, the Canucks have allowed only six goals.
MASKED MEN: While Thomas produced one of the greatest all-time postseason runs by a goalie in 2011 to help the Bruins win the Cup, Tuukka Rask was watching from the bench. Rask has now become one of the best netminders in the league with a 16-7-2 record and a 1.87 goals-against average in 25 games this season. If Rask starts tonight, it will be only his second game against the Canucks. He has a 0-0-1 record against Vancouver. The Canucks' Roberto Luongo played Friday night and helped Vancouver to a 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers. He had a relatively easy game and made 19 saves to record his third shutout this season. Overall, he is 15-8-5 with a 2.20 GAA in 28 games. Against the Bruins, Luongo is 11-10-3 with a 2.39 GAA and four shutouts in 25 career games.
REINFORCEMENTS: The Bruins continue to play, and win, without their normal lineup intact. While forward Shawn Thornton is serving his suspension for his attack on Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, multiple Bruins are sidelined with injuries: Dougie Hamilton (lower body), Adam McQuaid (lower body), Chris Kelly (broken fibula), Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Daniel Paille (upper body). Plus, the flu bug has been making its way around the Bruins' locker room. Meanwhile, the recent promotions of Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser and Nick Johnson have proved crucial in the team's current winning streak.