Game Day Preview Canucks vs. Bruins: Return of the Champians
Canucks fans will never forget the 2010/2011 season. I mean, it was one of the most successful years in franchise history. And who could forget the dominance and ecstasy that season was or the heartbreak in the way it ended as tonight’s visitors, the Boston Bruins, won the Stanley Cup in Game 7 on our home ice? That Stanley Cup run brought out a gritty rivalry between the Canucks and the Bruins. It brought out a different level of hatred that’s extended even to fans and media from both cities.
Because of the NHL’s unbalanced schedule at the time and the lockout-shortened season last season, these two teams have only met once since the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals – a Vancouver visit to Boston on January 7, 2012, or as Mike Gillis called it, the day the Canucks’ 2011/2012 season started to go downhill. Cory Schneider was in net that game, a 4-3 Canucks win, and Cody Hodgson scored the winning goal, but the Canucks’ play sagged after that game. Despite having the league’s best record in the regular season, they were dispatched promptly in the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings.
Tonight’s tilt is the first of two meetings between the Canucks and Bruins this season; they meet again in Boston in February. This is the last game of the Canucks’ 5-game home stand. They’ve won the first 4 games so far, and wouldn’t it be something if they could cap off a perfect home stand with a win against one of their most hated rivals tonight? It won’t be easy though. While the Canucks have been playing well, the Bruins have been equally good. The Bruins have won 4 games in a row, including 3 consecutive wins in Canada (Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton).
Roberto Luongo was NHL.com’s second star last night after his shutout performance against the Oilers. More importantly, he’s won his last 4 starts. In that span, he’s only allowed 4 goals while stopping 114 of 118 shots (0.966 save percentage).
Jason Garrison continued his torrid scoring pace with 3 assists last night. He now has 13 points in his last 10 games, and his 22 points for the season ties him for 4th in scoring among all NHL defensemen.
With goaltender Tuukka Rask battling the flu, backup goaltender Chad Johnson started in goal in the Bruins’ last game against the Oilers on Thursday. He’s has made the most of his starts this season and has won 6 of the 7 games he’s played.
Jarome Iginla (yes I forgot he played for Boston as well) has 3 goals in his last 3 games. He currently sits in 4th in team scoring.
The flu has made its way through the Bruins locker room with Tuukka Rask being one on of the latest victims. If you believe head coach Claude Julien, he may or may not play tonight, “We just have to play through it… so Rask may play through it tonight.”
The Bruins will also be without Chris Kelly, Loui Eriksson, Daniel Paille, Adam McQuaid and Dougie Hamilton, all out with injuries. Shawn Thornton is still sitting out his suspension, the full length of it to be announced later today.
The Canucks are still without Alex Edler, Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder.
Nervousness is a perfectly normal feeling when the Canucks are playing the Bruins so here’s something to calm you.