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Game 35: Beaning the Bruins

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks can't go back in time to 2011 and bring the Stanley Cup to Vancouver but a performance like Saturday's should serve notice that this year's version of the team has what it takes to potentially make history in 2014.

Hosting the Bruins for the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, the Canucks turned in their finest effort of the season as six different players found the back of the net in a 6-2 romp over the defending Eastern Conference champions.

With the win, the Canucks improved to 20-10-5 on the season and completed a perfect sweep of their five-game home stand. They also extended their overall win streak to seven consecutive games marking the first time since March 22 to April 3, 2012 that they have won seven in a row.

Saturday night's clash with the Bruins was easily the most-hyped contest of the season for the Canucks to date and, for a while, looked as if it would be just as heated and competitive as the 2011 Cup Final. It was certainly heated but it was far from competitive, especially not after the Canucks turned on the jets in the second period and never looked back.

Vancouver got on the board late in the first period courtesy of a Jannik Hansen marker from centre ice and held the lead until Boston's Reilly Smith squared the affair on a partial breakaway at 4:11 of the middle stanza after a sequence where Boston controlled the play. It was enough to force Canucks' head coach John Tortorella to use his time out and berate his team.

The timeout turned out to be a stroke of genius.

David Booth would reclaim the lead for Vancouver just 80 seconds after Smith's equalizer snapping a hard shot off a rush down the left wing past Bruins' starting netminder Tuukka Rask low glove side. Chris Higgins would extend Vancouver's lead just three minutes after that to cap a dominating shift by his line and to put the Canucks in the driver's seat the rest of the way.

Yannick Weber, Henrik Sedin and Christoper Tanev added goals for the Canucks in the final frame while Smith notched his second tally of the night for the Bruins with the game already well out of hand.

Vancouver's offensive explosion ultimately carried them to an easy win but it was Roberto Luongo's brilliant goaltending especially in the early going that allowed the Canucks to have the success they did.

Luongo, coming off a 19-save shutout last night over Edmonton, was significantly busier on Saturday making a season-high 39 saves and earning first star honours in the process.

Rask made just 19 saves on 23 shots before he was given the mercy pull. Chad Johnson allowed two goals on seven shots in relief.

The Canucks hit the road for three straight games starting on Tuesday when they battle the Minnesota Wild.

The Canucks have not only won seven straight games to start the month of December for the first time in franchise history, but they are also the first team to manage the feat since the Flyers did so back in 2011. The Canucks' best December came back in 2011 when they went 11-1-2. After tonight's game, they have six games left in the month to try and top that record.

FLICKERING FLAME: Jarome Iginla may be new to this Canucks-Bruins rivalry but it's clear the ex-Flames captain still has some residual ill-feelings towards Vancouver stemming from his many battles against the Canucks over the years. Iginla had nine penalty minutes in his first game against the Canucks since leaving Calgary, which included a first period scrap with Ryan Kesler. He was lucky enough to finish the game considering he was forced to leave the contest in the first period after his scrap with Kesler with what appeared to be a dislocated finger. He would return for the start of the second frame.

NOTES AND NUMBERS: Mike Santorelli celebrated his 28th birthday on Saturday with a two-assist effort... David Booth appeared in his 400th career NHL game and tallied his first goal in seven games to mark the occasion... Chris Higgins extended his point streak to five games (3-4-7) equaling a personal career-high... Saturday's loss for Boston was their first in five games against a Pacific Division opponent this season... 11 different Canucks recorded a point in the victory... Yannick Weber's goal was his first in 43 games played. His last goal prior to Saturday night came back on January 12, 2012 while as a member of the Montreal Canadiens coincidentally also against the Bruins. He scored the game-winner that night against Tim Thomas in a 2-1 Montreal victory.

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