Game 35: Canucks vs. Bruins (12.14.13)
If you thought that 2011 Stanley Cup Final series between the Vancouver and Boston was long forgotten, think again. If the hype surrounding the Bruins lone visit to town tonight is any indication, it's clear that the fans – and the players – have yet to fully move on from that epic series that many in these parts felt was the Canucks' for the taking until several meltdowns coupled with unfavourable calls ended up handing the Bruins hockey's holy grail. That being said, while this game should be as intense on the ice as it will be in the stands, the Canucks know their primary focus is still to gain ground in the standings and not get caught up in the hoopla and let an opportunity for two points slip by.
It's fitting that both teams come into this contest at the top of their game. The Canucks have won six in a row including knocking off the woeful Oilers 4-0 last night. The Bruins, meanwhile, have won four straight and six of their last seven. Despite starting last night, Roberto Luongo will get the start again on Saturday. The Bruins are expected to counter with Tuukka Rask. Boston will be without several key players including off-season acquisition Loui Eriksson, Chris Kelly and the suspended Shawn Thornton.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on CBC, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Feed off the crowd. There have been a few nights this season where Rogers Arena has been somewhat subdued but tonight won't be one of those nights. The Canucks need to feed off the energy and emotion of the crowd and let that fuel them in this game
Make use of the man-advantage. The Canucks' power play got back on track last night with a two-goal effort after failing to score in two straight games. Boston has a tough PK but they're perhaps even tougher to score against at even-strength. We all remember what happened when Vancouver's power play when powerless back in 2011.
Tuukka channels Thomas. Rask may be a long-time Bruin but he's still a newbie to this rivalry. He's made just one career start against the Canucks but that was before the Stanley Cup Final series. But if he can stymie the Canucks the same way Thomas did back in June 2011, he'll instantly become a key figure in this rivalry and chances are the Bruins will win again at Rogers Arena.
By the Numbers
Years since the Canucks' last regular season home win vs. Boston – 5-2 on Dec. 4, 2005.
Players on the Canucks' current roster who were part of the 2011 Stanley Cup run.
Players on the Bruins' current roster who were part of their 2011 Stanley Cup winning team (excl. Marc Savard).
Career points for Jarome Iginla against the Canucks (28-45-73) in 89 career games. Tonight is his first as a Bruin vs. Vancouver.
Career NHL games for David Booth after he suits up tonight against Boston.
Days ago that the Bruins skated off Rogers Arena ice as the Stanley Cup champions.