"It's not worth winning if you can't win big." – Jack Reilly, once mighty, now forgotten coach of the Edina Hawks in the original Mighty Ducks movie.
This was a "circle it on the calendar as soon as the schedule is released," kind of game, and unlike the last time these teams squared off at Rogers Arena, the Canucks came to play. In their first matchup north of the border since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, the Vancouver Canucks dominated the Boston Bruins in a 6-2 rout, extending their winning streak to seven games Six different Canucks chipped in with a goal, while the Sedins combined for four points.
As expected, tensions were high between the two teams and it didn’t take long for the gloves to drop. Ryan Kesler and Jerome Iginla squared off in the first period. When it was over, Iginla slammed his helmet down while Kesler looked towards the crowd, waving his arms upwards to pump up the home fans while skating off to the box. A picture later surfaced of a brutal injury to Iginla’s finger, which was bent it was it was not meant to bend, thus explaining his absence after the fight.
Vancouver would draw the first power play of the game when David Krejci was sent off for hooking. The Canucks’ power play had been hot as of late with nine goals in the last 10 games. While there would be no goals on this advantage, Vancouver managed to put some pressure on net.
At 16:37, Jannik Hansen opened the scoring with a miraculous goal from center ice. The puck soared towards the net, then somehow just fell off as if the arena manager turned off the gravity, catching Rusk completely off guard. Seriously, it was the luckiest goal I’ve seen since the knuckle puck from Russ Tyler in the second Mighty Ducks movie.
Early in the second period, Boston evened things up with a goal off a turnover in the neutral zone. Reily Smith beat Luongo with a backhand shot before plowing into him after the play. Luongo was a bit slow to get up after the hard collision, but would stay in the game.
David Booth wasted no time answering back with a quick wrist shot on the rush set up with an assist from Brad Richardson to put the Canucks back on top, 2-1, just a minute and twenty seconds after Smith’s equalizer.
Chris Higgins would tack on another goal midway through the second period. Mike Santorelli set up the score with a nifty move in front of Rusk, firing a flurry of shots on net, opening the net for Higgins, netting his 10th goal of the season off the rebound to extend Vancouver’s lead to two goals.
Yannick Weber tacked on one more for the Canucks just over 90 seconds into the first period at 1:34 with a slap shot from the top of the zone, set up with some good passing from the twins, giving Vancouver a commanding 4-1 lead. The goal was Weber’s first in 43 games. It was also Vancouver’s first shot of the period as the Canucks began to take total control of the game.
Just two and a half minutes later while on the power play, Henrik Sedin tapped in Vancouver’s fifth goal of the night with a fortunate bounce off the skate of Zdano Chara. Just like that, it was 5-1, and the rout was on.
In the first four minutes of the third period, the Sedins combined for four points. That’s just downright efficient if you ask me.
Things would go from bad to worse for Boston when Chris Tanev got in on the action, adding one more goal for good measure, his third of the year, with the Canucks shorthanded halfway through the third period. It was Vancouver’s third goal on just their fourth shot during the period. There’s that whole, "efficiency," thing again, am I right?
Reily Smith would add a late goal, his second of the night, essentially just padding his stats and bringing down Luongo’s save percentage just a smidge. Despite the goal, Luongo still turned in a brilliant performance with 39 saves on 41 shots, coming on the heels of a shutout performance against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.
The key moment of the game in my eyes though was follwing Smith’s tying goal in the second period. John Tortorella used his timeout to unleash havoc on his team. He looked like he was ready to literally murder one of his guys. I don’t know what he said, but whatever it was, it worked. The Canucks responded by unleashing five unanswered goals, taking complete control. He’s a star in my book tonight.
The Canucks wrap up the homestand a perfect 5-0-0, and now hit the road for three games against Minnesota, Dallas and Chicago, where they'll look to keep their recent hot streak alive and keep climbing up the standings.