Another two-goal lead evaporated and another heartbreaking defeat for the Boston Bruins.
Pavol Demitra tied the game in the latter stages of the third period and had the only goal in the shootout as the Vancouver Canucks rallied for a 3-2 win over Boston on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
It was the 10th consecutive loss for the Bruins, who haven’t gotten two points in a game since edging San Jose 2-1 in a shootout on Jan. 14. They will try to avoid matching the longest skid in franchise history -- the 1924-25 team lost 11 straight -- when they play Montreal on Sunday afternoon.
They haven’t won in Boston since beating Philadelphia 2-1 in overtime in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, or at TD Garden since blanking Atlanta 4-0 on Dec. 30. Saturday’s game also marked the second in a row in which the Bruins blew a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 in a shootout -- it also happened against the Canadiens on Thursday. They also squandered a two-goal lead to Los Angeles in the game that started this streak.
“I think both goaltenders played well tonight and certainly kept their teams in the game,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “Again, with that 2-0 lead we really had to try to find a way to get that third goal. It didn’t happen, so eventually it came to the shootout again.”
Demitra beat Tuukka Rask on Vancouver’s first shootout attempt. Roberto Luongo made saves on Blake Wheeler and David Krejci, then poke checked Patrice Bergeron on Boston’s final attempt. Bergeron skated in and tried several dekes, but never got a shot off.
The Canucks have split the first four games of their 14-game road trip that wraps around the Olympic break.
“Two-and-two and 1-3 are two totally different things,” Luongo said. “We want to make sure we are better than .500 … on the road trip. Our road record is not where we want it to be (12-13-1) and we have to find ways to be better on the road like we were tonight.”
Luongo finished with 41 saves and the final one might have been the best. After Alexander Edler was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking Marc Savard with 2.2 seconds left in overtime, Michael Ryder picked up a loose puck after the ensuing faceoff was tied up and rifled a backhander that Luongo stopped with a glove save.
“We went through the exact same thing last year where we outplayed the opposition a number of times but couldn’t get the win,” coach Alain Vigneault said.
Demitra forced overtime when he tipped a Tanner Glass shot past Rask with 4:42 left in the third period. Sami Salo’s stick broke as he wound up for a drive from the point, but Glass got to the loose puck after Milan Lucic of the Bruins overskated it and Demitra, who was left all alone in front, redirected his shot for his first goal of the season.
“Bad luck, story of my season, nothing can go right,” Lucic said. “What can you do?”
Mason Raymond had started the Vancouver comeback in the second period after Boston received power-play goals from Zdeno Chara and Ryder in the first.
Savard set up both tallies. He found Chara sneaking down low for a shot that beat Luongo just 1:56 into the game. Ryder had a great deflection of a Savard drive with 5:40 left in the first for a 2-0 lead.
“They were moving the puck a lot crisper than they have and they really shot some good pucks at the net, and guys were pouncing on the rebounds or at least being there for tip-ins,” Julien said. “Hopefully they’ll build confidence from that and our power play can keep scoring goals and that’ll be one less thing to worry about, I guess.”
Already without the services of defensemen Andrew Ference and Mark Stuart, the Bruins lost Johnny Boychuk in the first period when a Mikael Samuelsson slap shot hit him in the left side of the face during a Canucks power play.
Boychuk was helped off the ice and did not return. Julien said he was being examined at an area hospital and wouldn’t travel with the team to Montreal; however, Ference could return after missing 14 games with a groin injury.
Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.