The Vancouver Canucks, minus number one netminder Ryan Miller, look to sweep their season series against the Boston Bruins tonight at the TD Garden.
Just when you thought the Canucks' goaltending situation couldn't get any more interesting, a development like Sunday's occurs that throws everything up in the air. The Canucks came away with a 4-0 victory over the Islanders but the win was only the secondary storyline. Ryan Miller sustained a lower-body injury that not only forced him to leave that contest but now has him on the shelf for the foreseeable future. Starting tonight, just roughly a week-or-so shy of a year ago to the date he first assumed the mantle, the number one job is once again Eddie Lack's to run with. The Canucks recalled Jacob Markstrom from Utica (AHL) yesterday to serve as backup.
The Canucks did not hold a practice yesterday so any lineup changes outside of the goaltending position won't be known until the morning skate at the earliest. There had been talk in the days leading up to tonight's contest that centre Nick Bonino, who has not played since February 9 when he was hit by a Ryan Suter slap shot, could return in this contest. Vancouver is also hoping to potentially get Alex Burrows back. He has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury.
Puck drop at 4 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific/Sportsnet 360, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
The Bruins looked like a team on a downward spiral when they were in Vancouver 11 days ago but nobody could have predicted the way they've seemingly hit rock bottom since departing Rogers Arena with a 5-2 loss that night. Boston's woes since then have included blowing a 3-0 lead in an overtime loss in Calgary, dropping a shootout decision to the lowly Oilers, and then getting blown out in St. Louis in game where they started and ultimately hung rookie goaltender Malcolm Subban out to dry. The good news is the Bruins have nowhere else to go but up and they've at least picked themselves off the mat to a degree with their most recent result – a dominating 6-2 win over the Blackhawks on Sunday.
Whether Sunday was a start of things to come for Boston or just a one-game reprieve remains to be seen. The one thing that is for certain is if they want to get back to their winning ways, they'll need to find a way to cut down their goals against. That starts with their workhorse and reigning Vezina Trophy-winning netminder Tuukka Rask, who has appeared in 17 consecutive games dating back to January 10. As a team, prior to the win over Chicago, they had allowed three-or-more goals in a season-high six straight games. Boston has only won five of 26 games this season in which they've surrendered three-or-more goals.
Keys to the Game
Go all in on Eddie. The Canucks are now, for all intents and purposes, Lack's team. Lack's been great when called upon this season and he'll need to be tonight. A strong start to his second stint as number one could set the tone for the rest of the regular season. Vancouver will want to make sure they don't just leave him to handle everything like he had to in the third period against the Isles when the Canucks were outshot 19-6.
Start something with the PP. For the first time in a while the Canucks power play is starting to pick up steam again with goals in two of the last three games including connecting twice on Long Island. The timing couldn't be better with Boston's PK allowing goals in four straight killing allowing five goals on 13 times shorthanded during that stretch.
Lucic plays like Lucic. The Bruins are eminently more dangerous when Lucic is at his nastiest and when he's hitting the scoresheet. The Bruins are hoping his last game will get him pointed in the right direction after he snapped a seven-game goal drought. Boston is 6-3-2 when Lucic scores. He has not scored in consecutive games since November.
By the Numbers
Save percentage for Tuukka Rask this season. He had a .930 save pct. in his Vezina Trophy-winning last season.
Straight home losses for the Bruins. They have not lost three in a row all season at the TD Garden.
Straight game for Boston against a Western Conference team. They are 10-10-4 this season vs. the West.
Points for Henrik Sedin (3-5-8) last week, earning him Second Star of the Week honours. He has points in four straight games.
Shutouts posted by the Canucks this season. The single-season franchise record is 10 (2008.09).
Minutes and two seconds of consecutive playing time without a goal allowed by the Canucks entering tonight's game.