1:00 PM ET, January 7, 2012
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
1:00 PM ET, January 7, 2012
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON -- The Vancouver Canucks wouldn't let the Bruins push them around anymore and left with something they couldn't get in last year's finals -- a win in Boston.
Less than four minutes into their first game between the teams since the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, at least five Canucks surrounded and jostled Boston's Shawn Thornton near the Vancouver bench after he came to the aid of a teammate who had been hit.
And two minutes later, the Canucks scored the first of their four power-play goals on their way to a 4-3 win Saturday.
"I think it makes a statement to the rest of the league that we're back and we're looking forward to getting back to where we were," Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider said.
The Canucks are second in the NHL with 55 points and the Bruins are third with 53.
Boston's Milan Lucic drew a game misconduct for leaving the bench to join in the altercation, but Bruins coach Claude Julien insisted he had taken the ice on a legal line change.
"I'm not blaming (the referees). They're in the middle of a scrum there," Julien said. "What's unfortunate is that we lost a pretty good player early in the game."
After Julien commented on Lucic's situation, it was announced by NHL senior vice president and director of officiating Terry Gregson that Lucic's game misconduct had been rescinded by the league.
A video review showed that Lucic had indeed entered the ice on a legal line change.
"The referees reacted to what they saw," Gregson said. "The only player they saw coming from the bench area from either team was Lucic. But with the benefit of replay, we can see that Lucic had previously entered the ice over the boards legally to join the play and actually was contemplating stepping back onto the bench through the door when the altercation ensued.
"It should be further noted that a review of the video confirmed that all players on both teams involved in the altercation had entered the ice legally for the purpose of joining the play. None entered the ice for the purpose of joining or starting an altercation, which is prohibited by Rule 70."
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault, whose team was outmuscled in the Stanley Cup finals, thought the Bruins were still too physical.
"Our guys played whistle to whistle," he said. "It's hard to play that way when the other team gets two or three extra (hits) in after the whistle."
That may be a spillover from last year's ill will.
Boston's Nathan Horton missed the last four games of the finals after suffering a concussion in Game 3 on an open-ice hit by Aaron Rome. The Bruins were the much more physical team, pushing stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin around with little response.
"Let's not kid ourselves here. These are teams that don't like each other," Julien said. "I think the buildup from last year is still there."
Last year, Boston fans chanted "Luongo, Luongo" about Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, who struggled much of the seven-game series and was pulled in the first period of Boston's 5-2 win in Game 6.
They did it again just 1:55 into Saturday's game even though Schneider played the entire game.
The Canucks, who have the NHL's best power play, had the manpower advantage after the scrum that resulted in nine penalties, and Ryan Kesler gave them a 1-0 lead at 5:41 of the period with his 11th goal of the season.
Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley responded for Boston. Alex Burrows tied it at 15:21 of the second period and Henrik Sedin put the Canucks ahead to stay at 19:47 after Marchand was given a game misconduct and a clipping penalty for upending Sami Salo with a low hit.
"It (also) happened last year in the playoffs," Henrik Sedin said.
"We knew they were going to come out hard and so did we," Boston's Chris Kelly said. "There's grown men out playing hockey and emotions were high."
The Canucks did their scoring against Tim Thomas, their nemesis in the Cup finals when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player. He later won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender.
"Every time we started to get momentum we have a power play or a long power play to kill," he said. "Whether you agree with the calls or not, they were a huge factor in the way the game turned out."
Boston began the day leading the NHL in goals scored and goals against. Vancouver was the second-highest scoring team and third stingiest.
Boston, which won its previous two home games 8-0 and 9-0, fell behind when Kesler scored during a two-man advantage. Kelly blocked a shot in front of Thomas, but Kesler got the rebound and connected on a wrist shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle.
Marchand scored his 16th goal a little more than nine minutes later when he cut in front of Schneider and connected on a pass from Patrice Bergeron along the boards.
Daniel Paille missed a penalty shot for the Bruins at 23 seconds of the second period, but Peverley gave them their only lead at 7:12 with his seventh goal on a wrist shot. Burrows tied it when he tipped in Hodgson's shot.
Then came Marchand's costly penalty.
"This isn't boxing," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "They're one of the biggest, strongest teams in the league, but it comes down to skill."
Exactly one minute after Marchand's ejection, Henrik Sedin, who began the game tied for the NHL scoring lead, scored his 11th goal when he tipped in Alexander Edler's shot. Sedin, who rarely shows emotion, pumped his fist.
"It was a big goal to go up 3-2 in the second period. There was a lot emotion out there," he said. "We won the game. That's good enough for us."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
|Arena: TD Garden
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
|Referees: Don VanMassenhoven, Dan O'Rourke|
Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Derek Nansen
|Attendance: 17,565 (100.0% full)|
|4||Power Play Goals||0|
|11||Power Play Opportunities||7|
|36||Shots on Goal||39|
|5:41||Ryan Kesler (11)
Assists: Sami Salo, Daniel Sedin
|14:57||Brad Marchand (16)
Assists: Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron
|7:12||Rich Peverley (7)
Assist: Benoit Pouliot
|15:21||Alex Burrows (16)
Assists: Cody Hodgson, Kevin Bieksa
|19:47||Henrik Sedin (11)
Assists: Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa
|1:09||Cody Hodgson (10)
Assist: Dan Hamhuis
|1:51||David Krejci (10)
Assist: Joe Corvo