Final score: Boston Bruins 3, Vancouver Canucks 2
The Vancouver Canucks opened the scoring in Boston by tallying their first road power play goal since October 23rd in Seattle against the Kraken. The goal from Tanner Pearson gave the Canucks the first goal in a hockey game for just the sixth time in 22 matches. The other good sign is that the goal came from crashing the net. The puck just barely snuck across the goal line behind Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark with Pearson creating havoc and congestion in front. Pearson nudged it through the goalie.
If at first you don’t succeed …
Conor Garland scored his 6th goal of the season at the 17:23 mark of the 1st period only to have the goal called back on an offside review. It was a beautiful slapper top-shelf through a screen, but re-winding the play, Nils Höglander had crossed the line on the left wing ahead of the puck and the goal was erased.
Undaunted, the Scituate, Massachusetts native, playing in front of friends and family, tallied his 6th goal of the season again at the 12:31 mark of the 2nd period. This time, it was along the ice from the left wing circle, through the screen of Jason Dickinson, through Ullmark’s 5-hole.
Garland grew up a Bruins fans on what’s called the “South Shore”, just south of Boston, and actually played a season-plus with the Junior Bruins as a teen.
There were two other goals called off in the game. Tomas Nosek of Boston kicked a puck into the net in the 2nd period, clearly a “distinct kicking motion”, and the B’s had an empty-netter reviewed and waved off in the closing seconds of the game as it determined offside.
The Usual Suspects
Brad Marchand at 8:45 and David Pastrnak at 16:36 scored power play goals in the third period to give the Bruins the win. The Bruins power play finished 2-for-3 while the Canucks finished 1-for-4. The big thing that jumps out when watching Boston on the power play: Player movement. They’re in motion, to the point where Marchand will change sides of the ice, often more than once, and Patrice Bergeron will slide all over.
Moments before Marchand’s tying goal, Tyler Motte had a clean breakaway and was stopped by Ullmark. It would have made it 3-1 Canucks mid-third. That’s how it goes when one is in a rut. Games don’t get put away.
The Canucks won’t dwell on this for long; they’re back at it in Montreal on Monday night against the dysfunctional Habs. Don’t be completely fooled by the Habs 6-3 victory in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, goaltender Jake Allen stood on his head in facing 50 shots on goal from the Penguins.
The Habs are 6-15-and-2 for 14 points in the east while the Canucks are now 6-14-and-2 for 14 points in the west. Someone’s coming out of this as the doormat.
Sunday, the Canadiens fired their General Manager Marc Bergevin, a day after assistant general manager Scott Mellanby resigned.
They Said it:
Conor Garland – “There’s sixty games left,” Garland stated. “If you don’t believe then there’s no business, no point in showing up. There’s a lot of season left, so, sixty games left, a lot can happen, you just have to win hockey games. We understand what has to be done, we gotta win at a pretty good pace, we’re gonna get on a few runs, but it’s a talented group so, faith is not tested.”
Head Coach Travis Green – “It’s going to sound a bit repetitive, tough game to lose again,” Green said. “It magnifies the way things are going. A lot of good efforts tonight, it was a heavy, hard fought game. At the end there, their top guys found a way to get it done.”
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3-Stars:
3) – Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Put up with Brad Marchand whacking and hammering him all evening long. Played 24:33, two shots on goal, two hits (officially) and two blocked shots. Physically involved everywhere. See his and the rest of the D-men’s report cards after 21 games here. Quinn Hughes easily could have slotted in this list as well.
2) – Jaroslav Halak – Poor Jaro’. The first goal was a bit tough, but he turned aside 39 shots. Most of the night seemed effortless, even the difficult saves. He’s stuck on 281 career wins, still looking for his first victory with the Canucks. “He wasn’t the problem,” said coach Green.
1) – Conor Garland – 2 goals, one called back. Six shots on goal, not including the one that went in and didn’t count. See his and the rest of the forwards report cards after 21 games here.