By: Jeremy Perrigo
After capping off a short road trip with a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights Sunday, Boston had a three-day break going into their Thursday match up with the Vancouver Canucks. Conversly, Vancouver was coming off a 3-0 shut-out win Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators, and looked to keep their momentum heading into the Garden.
Boston started off slow, forced to kill a penalty taken by Charlie McAvoy only 34 seconds into the game. While the Bruins killed off the penalty, Vancouver would score shortly after on a well-placed shot by Derek Dorsett.
It took only 31 seconds for Boston to answer back with a tally of their own from Anders Bjork, his second of the year from a Bergeron point shot, Marchand picked up the secondary assist.
The Bruins would go on five minute power play due to the Gudbranson major. David Pastrnak would make the Canucks pay 9:03 in, skating end-to-end, starting behind the Bruins net, to deke goaltender Anders Nilsson at the opposite end of the ice to put his team up 2-1.
Only 23 seconds later Anders Bjork would tally his second of the night from the top of the left circle by firing a slapshot over the shoulder of Nilsson. Just over a minute later Patrice Bergeron crashed the Canucks zone coming down the right side. He tossed a puck on net with the intent of producing a rebound in front, which landed on the stick of David Krejci, who beat Nilsson to put Boston up 4-1. Both goals were also on the power play. Anders Nilsson was replaced by Jacob Markstrom in net after the fourth Bruins goal.
With less than a minute left in the period, Kevan Miller dropped the gloves with Derek Dorsett in a spirited bout where both players landed hard hits.
Boston outshot Vancouver 18-8 in the first period and led 4-1 on the scoreboard.
The play began to even out after a Boston-dominated first. Even despite a decline in action, the Bruins would be the next team to score when Patrice Bergeron stole a puck off of Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton in the right corner, got it to Anders Bjork, who fed Brad Marchand in the slot and sizzled a puck past Markstrom.
Vancouver would answer back, Bruin forward Kenny Agostino was sent to the penalty box for slashing with 4:38 remaining in the period. On the ensuing power play Thomas Vanek tipped in a Sam Gagner shot from the point to cut the lead to three.
Just 34 seconds later Bo Horvat would slide a puck past Anton Khudobin to get the Canucks within two goals of the Bruins with 3:20 left in the period.
The period ended with Boston ahead 5-3. Vancouver outshot the Bruins 9-7 in the second, cutting the Bruins lead in shots to 25-17 after two periods.
Vancouver came out to start the third on the power play due to a Charlie McAvoy slash that was called as time expired in the second period. Boston killed off the power play despite intense pressure from the Canucks who were trying to force a one-goal game.
The period continued past the halfway mark until Alexander Burmistrov took an interference call with 8:51 left in the period. Only 44 seconds into the power play Patrice Bergeron finished off a quick passing play in front of the net made possible by David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand.
The remainder of the period expired, a dominating win for Boston, who started off a four-game homestand with two points, despite playing without their starting goaltender.
Final Score: Boston - 6 Vancouver - 3
Boston outshot Vancouver 35-29 and faceoff wins were an even 50% split between the two teams. The Bruins were 4/8 on the power play and the Canucks were 1/6.
Next Game: Saturday at 7pm EST vs. Buffalo Sabres
Patrice Bergeron returned to action in a big way for the Bruins with three assists and a goal in his season debut. It was reassuring to see Boston respond quickly to the Canucks early goal, and the fact that it came from their first line of Bergeron, Marchand and Bjork gives hope that this game was only the beginning of great things to come. The line combined for a total of ten points on the night, and Bjork looked extremely confident playing with the two veterans.
Tuukka Rask suffered a concussion in practice Wednesday as a result of a collision with Anders Bjork, forcing the Bruins to start Anton Khudobin in goal. Khudobin had 26 saves on the night, making the saves his team needed him to make.
Adam McQuaid looked like he might be heading to the locker rooms early after blocking back-to-back shots in unprotected areas of his right leg, he would return to the bench. David Krejci did sustain an upper-body injury and did not return to the game.