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RECAP: Vancouver drops Boston, 8-5; chase Halak in wild second period

Though secondary scoring showed up for the Bruins, the top line was a combined -8. Not a recipe for success.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Boston Bruins
Danton Heinen played a composed game.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

TD Garden showed up ready to cheer, and though there wasn’t much to celebrate in the game, the Bruins shone at some little things. Winning wall battles and making smart plays on offense were evident in Boston’s game, but they did not value the puck well enough or take care of their own end.

First Period

David Pastrnak slipped a sneaky backhand just wide in the first minute of the game, setting the tone early. Unfortunately, Vancouver also picked up on that tone, as Bo Horvat pounced on a turnover to create the game’s first goal.

A tip in front by Jake DeBrusk almost snuck under Markstrom, and had it, he might’ve scored a million goals in this one. The puck was finding him all night and when it wasn’t, he was hunting it down.

A stiff check from Erik Gudbranson rattled Pasta in front of the Canucks bench, so everyone’s favorite human bear Zdeno Chara reminded Gudbranson who would be doling out the discipline. It seemed to work, at least temporarily.

To counter, Boston managed to feign a net charge, only to leave the puck for Matt Grzelcyk to lean into a well-placed slapshot over Canucks goalie Jakob Markstrom’s blocker to tie the game at 1 each.

With plenty of clock left, the teams settled into a safe game, but it would not last into the next frame.

Second Period

The period started off tense, but Boston got a handle on things pretty quickly. It wasn’t more than 3 minutes before His Saintliness Patrice Bergeron collected a loose puck in front of Markstrom and tucked it in to put Boston up one.

Quickly, this game would get VERY interesting, and not in the Bruins’ favor. Vancouver scored two goals less than 90 seconds apart, one from Loui Eriksson in close and another long shot on the power play by Ben Hutton to flip the script and give the Canucks the 3-2 lead. Just over thirty seconds later, Jake DeBrusk would knot things up again after a great possession shift and a tip-in off a David Krejci shot-pass. DEEP BREATHS TAKEN, it’s back to a tie game.

Kampfer took a second penalty, this time for holding, and Boston again would not be able to kill it, as a tipped point shot resulted in a second goal from Eriksson. 4-3, Vancouver.

Moments later, Antoine Roussel would find his own way to score, and the Canucks began to pull away, gaining a two-goal lead visibly controlling more of the game’s flow.

Cassidy, not to be out-pulled, swapped Halak for Tuukka Rask and the momentum would shift for a few minutes. The B’s finally got their own power play, and with time nearly expired on it, Jake DeBrusk tipped in his second goal of the game to pull Boston back within one.

Gudbranson would have the last word in the second, however, and gave Vancouver the two-goal lead back, sending the teams to the locker rooms with a score of 6-4.

Third Period

An early penalty to Bo Horvat was negated by Brad Marchand. Boston killed off the minute of difference after the 4v4. Horvat would sit again, and after a slashing call against Ben Hutton came before Horvat’s sin had expired, the Bruins enjoyed a bit of 5v3 time. No luck there, and Tuukka turned over a pass to give Vancouver an empty-net goal with over ten minutes to go. Vancouver would get an 8th off of yet another Boston turnover off a pass to nobody in the high slot of their own zone. YOU GET NO GIFS OF THESE THINGS.

You can, however, have Danton Heinen notching the PP goal with about six minutes remaining.

This one would fizzle out, and though the Bruins played with some pride to recover, they did so in front of a fraction of the sellout crowd at TD. Did you know it was the 391st straight sellout for the Bruins? Yeah, we don’t believe it either.

Game Notes

  • Boston’s breakouts look much more crisp than Monday to start the game, but Vancouver began to read them well and interrupted Boston’s advances in batches, stifling their attempts at gaining momentum. It got worse as the game went on.
  • Besides Vancouver doing a good job of disrupting Boston’s breakouts, the Bruins definitely got in their own way a fair amount tonight. Dinky blind passes into their own high slot caused more than enough turnovers and a couple goals for Vancouver. Hell, Horvat had two unassisted goals that he didn’t have to skate in himself.
  • The Bruins were fairly terrible at stopping Vancouver’s seam passes, whether at even strength or while the B’s were killing a penalty. These weren’t momentary lapses of reason: they were abundant, and from beginning to end, this was a messy defensive game for Boston.
  • After Monday’s game, Boston coach Bruce Cassidy did say that he thought a breakthrough in goals was coming, and when it did it’d be in bunches. We should be at least a little grateful for the silver lining that is secondary scoring, DeBrusk playing the best game we’ve seen from him in weeks, and the first goals from elsewhere in the lineup (besides 63-37-88). This could serve as another good teaching moment for these young forwards as they continue to learn that scoring goals doesn’t always win games. Let’s hope for a more responsible effort on defense this weekend.

On to Saturday’s game against Toronto!