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Game 58: Still sliding

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
Coming off a rather uninspired effort 24 hours earlier in Detroit, the Canucks turned in a much better performance facing their arch-rivals, the Bruins, on Tuesday.

It still wasn't enough to get them back into the win column.

Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic each had a goal and an assist to lead the Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the slumping Canucks at the TD Garden.

Daniel Paille also scored for the B's, who successfully avenged their 6-2 loss to the Canucks back in December and notched their first win in three tries over Vancouver since beating them in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

Newcomer Raphael Diaz, playing his first game for the Canucks since being acquired yesterday from Montreal, had the lone marker for the Canucks, who suffered their fifth consecutive regulation loss and now have just one win their last seven outings.

The fact the score was as close as it ended up was a testament to the effort level the banged-up Canucks, who in actuality were more just a glorified version of the Utica Comets, turned in.

Vancouver learned just hours before puck drop that they would have to add two more bodies to their constantly expanding sickbay with Dan Hamhuis and Chris Higgins both forced to miss Tuesday's game with undisclosed injuries sustained on Monday in Detroit.

The Bruins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after the opening the scoring courtesy of a Lucic goal but had a great opportunity to equalize while shorthanded in the middle frame when Daniel Sedin broke in on a breakaway but was stymied by Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask. The failed attempt would prove costly as the Bruins would turn the puck up the ice on the same sequence and double their lead with Iginla finishing off a set-up from Zdeno Chara to make it 2-0.

Diaz would get the Canucks back within a goal just past the midway mark of the middle frame but the Bruins would restore their two-goal lead with just under three minutes left in the period courtesy of a Daniel Paille breakaway goal that, ironically, came after a long shift where the Canucks had sustained pressure in the Bruins zone.

Roberto Luongo made 29 saves on 32 shots in the loss for the Canucks while Rask turned aside 27 of 28 shots in the victory for the Bruins.

The Canucks, who fell to 0-3-0 on their current-five game road swing, will try to pick up their first win of the trip on Thursday when they take on Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.

To say the Canucks weren't the same team on Tuesday night compared to back on December 14 at Rogers Arena when they beat the Bruins 6-2 is not just an expression. Nine players that suited up in that win over the Bruins were not in the lineup tonight for the Canucks. Those players included the currently-injured Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, Yannick Weber, Christopher Tanev, Brad Richardson, Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli, as well as the since-demoted Jeremy Welsh and the recently-traded Dale Weise.

MANY HELPING HANDS: Boston's Jarome Iginla became the 78th player in NHL history to reach the 600-assist mark when he drew the helper on Milan Lucic's first period tally. He is one of eight currently active players with 600-or-more career assists joining Jaromir Jagr (NJD), Joe Thornton (SJS), Teemu Selanne (ANA), Daniel Alfredsson (DET), Ray Whitney (DAL), Henrik Sedin (VAN) and Martin St. Louis (TBL).

NOTES AND NUMBERS: Raphael Diaz is the 23rd different player to score a goal for the Canucks this season. The Canucks are still waiting for Alex Burrows to join that list... Diaz's goal was his first in 55 games dating back to February 19, 2013 in a game against John Tortorella's New York Rangers... David Booth led all skaters in the game with six hits... Daniel Sedin had a game-high six shots but watched his goal drought increase to 17 games... The Canucks have lost five consecutive regulation games for the first time since March 13 to 25, 1999... Bruins' captain Zdeno Chara played his final game before the Olympic break. He is departing early to take part in the Opening Ceremonies as the flag bearer for Slovakia. The Bruins, like the Canucks, have two more games to go before the break.

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