VANCOUVER -- The Boston Bruins got back to their defensive roots just in time for a happy ending to an otherwise uncharacteristic, disappointing three-game Western Canada road trip.
After getting caught up playing a wide-open style during two losses in Alberta, Boston scored early and then shut things down against the slumping Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Brad Marchand and Torey Krug scored on Boston's first four shots, Tuukka Rask made 17 saves and the Bruins wrapped up their trip with a 4-0 win at Rogers Arena.
"That should be something we take from this game, that you don't have to play run-and-gun to score a lot of goals," said Rask, who estimated Vancouver had "maybe four or five" scoring chances. "We were on them all over the ice and that takes a lot of offense away from the other time, so today was a great example of Bruins hockey."
The Bruins got away from that style during a 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday and a 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday. But Boston didn't look tired against the Canucks, capitalizing on early scoring chances and taking away open ice for the rest of the game.
"When we are playing back-and-forth games and run-and-gun then it doesn't play to our favor, so we have to continue to play like this," Marchand said.
Landon Ferraro scored eight minutes into the second period and assisted on Tyler Randell's goal with 8:28 left for the Bruins, who are 7-0-2 in their past nine games.
"We have a tendency sometimes to be hard on our team because we don't do it all the time, and yet when you look at games like tonight you really see what this team, when it puts its mind to it, is capable of," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "These kind of wins for me solidify the fact we know what we need to do to have success and hopefully we embrace the style of play that's given us success."
Vancouver hasn't had much success lately.
The Canucks have lost five straight and have three wins in the past 16 games. They turned to goalie Jacob Markstrom ahead of veteran Ryan Miller, but he allowed three goals on the glove side on the first seven shots before finishing with 18 saves.
Markstrom, who was coming off an impressive 38-save performance in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, didn't have much chance on Marchand's quick early shot and said he didn't see Krug's one-timer from the point.
"I was very frustrated, coming off a good game, feeling good, then to let in four. It's tough," Markstrom said. "The first one was a quick shot that disappeared top-shelf. The second one was a screen. Maybe I have to go practice the glove tomorrow."
Canucks coach Willie Desjardins challenged his team, calling it a "must game," but they barely tested Rask. His toughest save came on a by Bo Horvat one-timer early in the third period to preserve his third shutout of the season and 29th of his career.
"You've got to play hard, you've got to play physical, you've got to battle," Desjardins said. "I don't think our physical and battle levels are high enough."
Marchand scored on the first shot 2:54 into the game after Patrice Bergeron stole the puck from Radim Vrbata just inside the Vancouver blue line. Bergeron skated down the left side before passing cross-ice to Marchand, who shot it in one sweeping motion over the shoulder of a sliding Markstrom for his eighth goal in the past nine games.
Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller returned after missing seven games because of a concussion. But Adam McQuaid left seven minutes into the game, holding his left arm after getting hit by a Jared McCann shot from in front of the Boston net. The Bruins kept play going the other way and Krug doubled the lead while McQuaid was leaving for the dressing room, one-timing a Miller feed past Markstrom from the right point.
Ferraro made it 3-0 with a long wrist shot off the rush that Markstrom missed with his glove eight minutes into the second period.
"I gave them one," Markstrom said. "I can't be making those mistakes. … We have to stick together. You need a hot goalie to come in and play really good to help you. We need something, we need some spark. I know this group has it. We are having a rough time finding it right now. ... It's been a lot time since I've been this disappointed."
Ferraro, a British Columbia native, helped set up Randell's goal in a goalmouth scramble with 8:28 left.
"You always dream about scoring a goal in front of your family in your home town," said Ferraro, who had his father (former NHL player Ray Ferraro), mother and grandparents at the game. "To be able to do that is pretty exciting."
Brandon Prust was given a 10-minute misconduct after spearing Marchand with 1:53 left, dropping the Bruins forward to his knees for several minutes.
"Just kind of gave me a jab and got me," said Marchand, who finished the game.
Julien expects the NHL Department of Player Safety to review the play.
"I saw the spear on the replay and we'll let the League decide what they want to do, but I don't know what prompted him to do that at that stage," he said. "I don't see everything on the ice but it's not something you want to see, especially at that time of the game."