The Vancouver Canucks gave the home crowd a game they would not forget as they scored nine goals for the first time since 1996, a 9 - 3 humiliation of the best team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins, Saturday at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver British Columbia. The last time the team scored this many goals was back on January 6th, 1996 with a 9 - 2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning 9 - 2. This marked the end of a six game winning streak and four game road trip for the Bruins, much needed rest is required for Tuesday's game against the Calgary Flames at the TD Garden. The Vancouver Canucks pulled within two points of the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division as it will be a nailbiter between those two, but don’t rule out the battle between the Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes, currently third & fourth place with only a point between them hunting for the Pacific Division title as well.
The Bruins would start off energized by Jake DeBrusk hitting Tyler Toffoli and taking two shots in the first 0:45 but the Canucks would draw first blood as Tyler Motte found Jay Beagle who passed it off the boards for Troy Stecher, a wrist shot from an angle surprising Tukka Rask and making it 1 - 0. It wouldn’t take long for the Bruins to strike back as Brandon Sutter’s shot was blocked by Matt Grzelcyk who completed the long lead pass to the NHL’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak who went backhand forehand on Jacob Markstrom to tie the game at one. The game would continue to be even until Jeremy Lauzon was called for holding, the Canucks would waste no time to regain the lead as Toffoli passed it to J.T. Miller who made a smooth no-look pass to Bo Horvat as he beat Rask blocker side. Horvat would go to the box for holding but the Bruins did nothing worthy on the power play, now the Bruins’ turn, Patrice Bergeron was called for holding, but the Canucks too did nothing worthy. The first period would end with the worst yet to come for the Bruins.
For roughly the first five minutes of the second, the teams would trade hits and block shots making this a defensive showdown, that was until all-star rookie, Quinn Hughes squeezed the pass by Bradon Carlo’s stick to find Adam Gaudette for the 3 - 1 Canucks’ lead. Fortunately, the Bruins caught a break and killed eleven minutes without letting in a goal but it didn’t last as the Canucks responded with two 1:11 apart as former Bruin, Loui Eriksson found Tyler Myers at the blue line who rang one off the post for Tanner Pearson to knock in the rebound. The second goal was almost drawn up the same way, Alexander Edler took the shot which Toffoli deflected as Rask made the kick save, Eriksson was there for the rebound for his second point of the game, 5 - 1 Canucks. The Bruins weren’t playing like a top caliber team so they flipped the switch and became the “Big Bad Bruins,” Zdeno Chara did not like Myers’ hit on Karson Kuhlman, in Chara’s typical fashion he initiated contact with Myers and doing so both were called for roughing. Almost three minutes later, Charlie Coyle and Horvat decided to drop the gloves with just :30 left in the period. At this point, any level headed Bruins’ fan would want to hit the fast forward button at the 0:00 mark.
Rask under pressure starts the third down four goals but it would only get worse for him and the rest of the black and gold, Elias Pettersson scored just :46 into the period assisted by Miller and Stecher. Antoine Roussel went to the box for high sticking and Pastrnak would cash in on the power play with his second goal of the game assisted by Torey Krug and Brad Marchand, 6 - 2. Nearly two minutes later, Rask was replaced by Jaroslav Halak, Chris Wagner would cut the deficit in half as Sean Kuraly passed it to Grzelcyk who connected to Wagner as his initial shot was stopped by Markstrom only for him to strike again for the goal. The miracle comeback would be only a mirage as Toffoli scored his first goal as a Canuck, Miller the helper made it 7 - 3. It wouldn’t take long for Toffoli to score again, 8 - 3 with Huges picking up his second point of the game with the assist. Jake Virtanen would put one in through Halak giving up three goals on eight shots, the assists would go to Stecher who picked up his career high third point and Edler with his second for the Canucks to cruise for the easy 9 - 3 win. The crowd chanting, “We want ten!” was not to be as Beagle and Myers’ attempts missed the net in the final 1:30.
The only thing going for the Bruins was the top rated teams also lost on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and most importantly, the Tampa Bay Lighting who also struggled against a Western Conference foe, the Arizona Coyotes. With the trade deadline a few days away should the Bruins think about a blockbuster trade for New York Rangers LW, Chris Kreider? They have more than enough salary cap after trading David Backes, Axel Andersson and a 1st round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for Ondrej Kase, with these new additions, the offense would be near unstoppable. Speaking of trades, this game showed that Toffoli is heading in the right direction to be a key acquisition for the Canucks with a three point night, if the first two lines and Markstrom keep clicking, making the postseason should be a breeze for the Canucks no matter how tight the Pacific Division is. Despite the score, this game was far from the most memorable event this past weekend, Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th career NHL goal becoming the eighth player to do so and 42 year old emergency goaltender and zamboni driver for Toronto Marlies, Dave Ayres made eight saves on ten shots helping the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6 - 3.