VANCOUVER - Shawn Matthias scored the first hat trick of his career Friday as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins 5-2.
Radim Vrbata and Jannik Hansen, into an empty net, had the other goals for Vancouver (31-20-3), while Zack Kassian added two assists.
Ryan Miller made 21 saves to get the win in his 600th NHL game.
Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly replied for Boston (28-20-7), which got 20 stops from Tuukka Rask.
Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Bruins got to within one at 5:41 of the third when Kelly scored his seventh of the season on a shot that deflected in off Canucks defenceman Ryan Stanton.
But Vancouver restored its two-goal lead just 26 seconds later when Kassian, who now has five points in his last four games after being a healthy scratch for three straight, fed Matthias in front after jumping on a giveaway by Boston defenceman Dennis Seidenberg.
Rask made a great save on the initial shot, but the puck rebounded off Seidenberg and over the line, prompting the crowd at Rogers Arena to litter the ice with hats as Matthias celebrated his 13th goal of the season.
Hansen then lofted an empty-net goal from his own zone with two minutes to go for his 11th.
The Canucks led 2-1 through 20 minutes and came out flying in the second ??? directing the first 10 shots of the period on Rask ??? before Vrbata stretched Vancouver's lead at 9:26.
After the Canucks gained the Bruins' zone, Chris Higgins fed a between-the-legs pass from behind the net in front to Vrbata, who patiently slid home his 21st of the season.
The game was another rematch of the 2011 Stanley Cup final that Boston won in seven games, and although each side has a lot of new faces, Friday's contest was a physical and fast-paced as both teams continue playoff pushes in their respective conferences.
Vancovuer started brightly and Matthias opened the scoring 1:41 into the first period after taking a slick saucer pass from Kassian on a 2-on-1.
The Canucks kept the pressure on and Matthias buried his second of the night at 5:03 after intercepting a brutal attempted pass up the middle by Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton. The big centre walked in on Rask and outwaited the Boston goalie before calmly firing home his 12th.
The Bruins called a timeout after that goal and eventually got back in the game when Bergeron scored his 16th at 9:38 on a rebound that he put in off Canucks defenceman Christopher Tanev on a scramble after a 2-on-1 break.
Notes: Matthias had scored two goals in a game six times before Friday. ... Vrbata's goal stretched his point streak to eight games. ... The Canucks and Bruins each hit the crossbar in the first period. ... Vancouver visits the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. .... Boston is in Calgary on Monday.
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