Boeser feature Game 4 TONIGHT bug

NASHVILLE -- Brock Boeser understands there will be pain at the front of the net on the Vancouver Canucks' power play, but the forward is willing to take it when the gain is a victory.

Boeser had a hand in each Canucks goal in a 2-1 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Friday that gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

The Canucks hope to keep reaping those rewards when the series resumes with Game 4 on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; MAX, truTV, TBS, BSSO, SN, TVAS).

Boeser provided a screen that allowed center J.T. Miller to score a power-play goal at 13:23 of the first period to put Vancouver ahead 1-0 in Game 3. Then, on a power play in the second period, Boeser boxed out Nashville defenseman Jeremy Lauzon in front of the net and redirected Miller's shot under Predators goalie Juuse Saros to make it 2-0 at 4:33.

"I'm just doing whatever I can to help our team score goals," Boeser said Saturday. "So if they want to start whacking me or whatever and it distracts a guy, then I'm sure another guy will be open or whatever. I'm embracing the role."

It wasn't a role Boeser embraced right away. He had been playing mostly on the flank or in the bumper position on Vancouver power plays for most of his time in the NHL.

"It took a couple years to really try and be the best that I can be there," he said. "I think it's just buying into that spot and really putting that work in. That's helped me a lot."

Boeser and Miller had been the Canucks' primary net-front presences on the power play the previous few seasons, but Miller now is in more of a playmaker role from the flanks or the high slot on the top unit, meaning more time at the net for Boeser.

Coach Rick Tocchet said it was a conversation he and the staff had early in the season with the 27-year-old, and some early success helped him understand how much he could help the team by accepting that role.

"I think early in the season this year, him getting success, I wouldn't say buy in, but it's helped him understand, 'I've got to be at net front,' " Tocchet said. "Net front is a tough position sometimes because you might be there four or five games and not get anything and you might be the guy that's screening or whatever. I think his early success has bought him in to be the net-front guy for us.

"There was a stretch there where he was leaking out. ... Some of what happens is you start filtering away from the net, so it's important that you remind him. But he'll remind himself. The thing with 'Boes,' his hockey IQ, he's really smart."

Miller has played a significant role in Boeser's net-front education.

"He's taught me a lot from just playing that position and the looks that I have when I do get the puck," Boeser said. "He's helped me a lot."

After starting the series 0-for-6 with five shots on goal on the power play through Games 1 and 2, Boeser was a big reason the Canucks went 2-for-3 with the extra man in Game 3.

"Those don't go in without him," Miller said Friday. "He is getting really good at making the goalie, when I release it, look at his back. [Saros] is too good to score on out there so it's not going to happen without the screen and he knows that. We try to show different looks, but obviously he's going to catch it if he can see it, so it's a great job by Brock."

"He's starting to master that area a bit," said defenseman Quinn Hughes, who also plays on Vancouver's top power-play unit. "It's not easy to go there but he's transitioned. He's a guy that can also play the half wall but he goes to the front of the net. He knows that's where he's scoring from. That's where goals are being scored."

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