Game 58: Canucks at Bruins (2.4.14)
Under normal circumstances a game against the Bruins is one to look forward to. It's tough to suggest that to be the case right now with the Canucks seemingly watching their season spiral out of control and desperate for a victory just to stop the bleeding. The glass half full types would suggest the Bruins are the perfect tonic for the Canucks if only for the fact they find a way to bring the intensity out of Vancouver. The glass half empty types, on the other hand, would suggest the Canucks would have little chance the way they are going right now against one of the beasts of the East. One thing that is for certain is a repeat of last night's effort in their 2-0 loss to the Red Wings would certainly mean the Canucks are destined to be on their way to dropping their sixth game in seven outings.
The Bruins, meanwhile, are riding high lately winning five of their last six games and are coming off a 4-0 shutout of the Oilers on Saturday. They'll be looking to avenge their 6-2 loss to the Canucks back on December 14 at Rogers Arena. The Canucks will welcome Raphael Diaz to their lineup tonight after the ex-Canadiens defenceman was acquired yesterday in a trade that saw Dale Weise shipped to Montreal. Roberto Luongo will make his first start in Beantown since Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Tuukka Rask will likely get the call for the Bruins.
Puck drop at 4 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Remember, it's the Bruins. The mutual hatred between the Canucks and Bruins stemming from their clash in the 2011 Final has resulted in some entertaining meetings between the clubs since then. In Vancouver's case, they've been successful encounters too. The Canucks might be going through some tough times lately but facing the Bruins should still bring out the best in them.
The new guy brings some life. There's always a bit of a buzz whenever a new player joins the roster as Raphael Diaz will tonight. The ex-Hab, who is known for his offensive ability, will be given the opportunity to be a difference-maker particularly on the power play. Diaz was tied for third among Montreal defencemen at the time he was traded despite the fact he was in and out of the lineup.
Welcome back Lou. No one needs a reminder of what happened the last three times Roberto Luongo started in Boston. With Luongo getting the start for the first time in Beantown since that unforgettable Stanley Cup Final series nearly three years ago, the Bruins will want to pepper him early and make him think it's June 2011 all over again.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Bruins on home ice this season (21-6-2).
Win for the Canucks in their last eight road games (1-6-1).
Game point streak for Bruins' second-year forward Carl Soderberg (2-3-5).
Bruins named to Olympic team rosters, including one for Canada (Patrice Bergeron).
Consecutive playing time without a goal for the Canucks.
Power play opportunities for the Bruins this season, fewest in the NHL.