This road trip for the Bruins has not got any easier. Tonight they faced the Vancouver Canucks, a team that many people say are the best team in the NHL. According to several league rankings, they are the best team in the NHL, holding first place in the league in goals per game, goals against, and power play percentage.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin are a dynamic duo who have been the nucleus of this powerful and highly-skilled team. Coming into this game, the Bruins needed to shut down the Sedin brothers and capitalize on any Canuck mistake because they knew that there would not be many of them.
Even though the score did not show it, this was an incredibly played first period for both teams. Both teams had some key chances to score. However, Boston goalie Tim Thomas and Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo were on their toes. The Canucks got on the board first on a goal by Manny Malhotra and that is how the first period would end with Vancouver on top 1-0.
The second period was very physical. Sereveral big hits were on display and this allowed both teams to create seems in the defense for scoring chances. Throughout the first two periods, niether team was able to capatalize on the power play. Even with that against them, the B's managed to tie the game at 1-1 after Nathan Horton scored his 16th of the season. Milan Lucic and Tomas Kaberle had the assists.
In the third period, the Bruins and the Canucks took turns exchanging fast breaks and numerous shots on goal. Late in the third period, Lucic recorded his second point of the night by putting the Bruins on top 2-1. That goal was 27th of the season. The Bruins go on to win the game 3-1.
This victory cemented the Bruins reputation as one of the elite teams in the NHL. Whether they will be able to defeat a team like Vancouver in a seven game series come playoff time is another question, but they will be there once the third line starts hitting on all cylinders and the defense adjusts to the new style. Defenseman Andrew Ference left the game with a lower body injury and he did not return. Earlier in the week, the Bruins signed former Bruin's defenseman Shane Hnidy to a one-year deal. Coinsidence? We might see him as well as Steve Kampfer return to the line up tomorrow in Edmonton.
Gold Star: Milan Lucic (1 goal, 2 assists, +3 rating, 3 shots on goal)
Black Star: Chris Kelly...solid shifts, but no points since arriving in Boston. We are waiting patiently, but hopefully it will come soon.