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Struggling Canucks visit Bruins

by Brian Hunter

CANUCKS (27-21-9) at BRUINS (35-16-3)


Last 10: Vancouver 3-7-0; Boston 7-2-1

Season series: This is the second of two games between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. Roberto Luongo stopped 39 shots and six different Canucks had a goal in their 6-2 win at Rogers Arena on Dec. 14. Reilly Smith scored both Bruins goals.

Big story: Although the Canucks and Bruins have developed quite the distaste for one another since Boston's seven-game Stanley Cup Final win in 2011, Vancouver enters the final days before the Olympic break battling just to maintain one of the two Western Conference wild-card berths into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Canucks have lost four straight following a 2-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. They hold a one-point lead for eighth place in the West on the Phoenix Coyotes, who have two games in hand.

"We need to change the complexion of our hockey club," coach John Tortorella said after returning from a six-game, 15-day suspension. "We looked slow. It worries me. Really worries me."

Team Scope:

Canucks: This marks the midway point on a five-game road trip for Vancouver, which also saw center Henrik Sedin return to the lineup after missing the past six games with bruised ribs. He played more than 21 minutes, but didn't record a shot.

"You play hockey to get wins, and we can't really seem to even buy a win right now," goalie Eddie Lack said after the loss Monday. "We just have to keep battling out there and give my team a chance, and hopefully it's going to turn around."

Defenseman Raphael Diaz, acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on Monday for forward Dale Weise, could debut with the team Tuesday.

Roberto Luongo, who has allowed 11 goals over his past three starts, could get a chance to conquer his TD Garden demons Tuesday after Lack played the past two games. Luongo gave up 15 goals on 66 shots (.773 save percentage) and was pulled twice in three starts in Boston during the 2011 Final and hasn't played a game there since.

Bruins: Defenseman David Warsofsky was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Monday and practiced with Boston. Warsofsky made his NHL debut in December, playing four games for the Bruins, and scored a goal in his most recent outing, Dec. 28 against the Ottawa Senators.

Warsofsky was brought up in part because captain Zdeno Chara will be heading to the 2014 Sochi Olympics ahead of most NHL players. Chara will carry Slovakia's flag during opening ceremonies, causing him to miss games Thursday at the St. Louis Blues and Saturday vs. the Senators. Warsofsky is a 2008 draft pick by the Blues who was acquired for forward Vladimir Sobotka.

The move "gives him a chance to practice with us before [Chara] leaves," coach Claude Julien said.

Who's hot: Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton has a goal in each of the past two games. Forward Carl Soderberg has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak.

Injury report: Vancouver defenseman Yannick Weber (upper body) and forward Brad Richardson (undisclosed) were out of the lineup Monday. Defensemen Andrew Alberts (concussion), Christopher Tanev (hand) and Kevin Bieksa (foot) and forward Mike Santorelli (shoulder) are on injured reserve. … Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid (lower body) is "progressing well," according to Julien, but it's doubtful he will return prior to the Olympic break.

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