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Lucic powers Bruins to 3-1 win in Vancouver @NHL
Milan Lucic had the kind of homecoming most players can only dream of.

The Vancouver native scored the go-ahead goal with 4:38 remaining in regulation and assisted on Boston's other two goals as the Bruins downed the Canucks 3-1 on Saturday night to improve to 4-0 on their six-game road trip.

Lucic, who was honored by his junior team, the Vancouver Giants, on Friday night, went to the net and popped in the rebound after Roberto Luongo stopped Dennis Seidenberg's slapper from the point following an end-to-end rush by David Krejci. It was his fourth goal in four games and team-high 27th of the season.

Lucic also assisted on Nathan Horton's tying goal in the second period and Patrice Bergeron's empty-netter as the Bruins stayed four points ahead of Montreal in the Northeast Division. Boston also has two games in hand.

"It's almost the perfect ending to a perfect couple of days here, said Lucic, who was a member of the Giants team that won the 2007 Memorial Cup and had more than 40 friends and family in the sellout crowd at Rogers Arena. The Giants gave out a Lucic bobblehead on Friday night and put his number into their ring of honor.

"It's almost like a dream come true. You dream of things like this as a kid -- coming (to) your hometown and playing in the NHL. To be able to step up and play a game like this, and get a win and everything I went through this week -- it's really humbling."

The Canucks got a first-period goal by Manny Malhotra but were unable to get anything else past Tim Thomas, who made 27 saves. The last one, a sprawling stop with 32 seconds left, kept Lucic's goal as the game-winner.

"It was really nice to see Lucic get that goal, and I wanted to make that hold up as the game winner so bad," said Thomas, who needed some help from captain Zdeno Chara to sweep the puck off the goal line after the last save. "I m very happy to see him get the game-winner in his hometown and hopefully that's a game he can look back on for a long time."

Despite its second loss in three home games, the Canucks remained one point ahead of Philadelphia -- a 4-2 loser at Ottawa -- for the top spot in the overall standings.

"We had some good chances. Their goalie made some big saves," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "They made one more play than we did and won the game."

Malhotra put the Canucks ahead at 16:58 of the opening period by backhanding his own rebound past Thomas off a scramble. It was his third goal in six games after a 22-game drought. It was also the Canucks' first goal in three career games against Thomas.

Horton tied the game at 9:56 of the second when he took Lucic's passout and knocked his own rebound behind a sprawling Luongo. Defenseman Tomas Kaberle, playing his third game since being obtained in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, got the second assist on the play, his first point as a Bruin.

"Even when we got down 1-0, we never got nervous," Lucic said. "We had a strong second period, and we were able to carry that into the third."

Luongo and Thomas both made big saves to keep the game tied through two periods. Luongo robbed Horton again late in the period, and Thomas sprawled to get a pad on Mikael Samuelsson's breakaway bid.

Boston defenseman Andrew Ference left with a lower-body injury after taking a big hit in the first period. Coach Claude Julien didn't have an update on Ference, but was pleased by the way his team handled the final two periods with only five defenders, limiting the chances for the league's top scoring team, and holding their No. 1 ranked power play to just three shots on three chances.

"They're a very talented team, very dangerous," Thomas said. "To come in and grind out a win on their ice is a big victory for us."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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