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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bruins Finally Return Home, Promptly Get Stonewalled by Eddie Lack In 2-1 Loss to Canucks

If you thought that the Bruins' shocking 6-2 victory on Sunday afternoon in Chicago would carry over to tonight's game vs. Vancouver (35-22-3) at TD Garden, you were sadly mistaken my friend. Boston (29-22-9) had a whopping 80 shot attempts (41 on goal, 17 blocked, 22 missed the net) but good old Eddie Lack (40 saves) stood on his head for the frustrating win. Like David Krejci, Ryan Miller is expected to be out 4-6 weeks so Lack will be the Canucks' No. 1 goaltender until further notice.

The B's have now dropped seven out of their last eight games, the only good news of the night was that they didn't lose much ground in the pathetic race for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference as the Flyers lost 4-1 to the Hurricanes and the Panthers fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Blackhawks. Philadelphia remains four points back of Boston while Florida inched two points away from them.

Tuukka Rask (26 saves) appeared in his mind-numbing 17th straight game (and 26th out of the last 27) but Boston's lack of finish (no pun intended) killed him. It seemed like they had their mojo back (relatively speaking of course) when Daniel Paille scored his first goal since Nov. 21 at Columbus-a span of only 36 games. His backhander on a rebound 1:05 into the contest was his second goal of the season, no joke. Lack's fellow Swedes Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg had the assists.

Unfortunately, that lead held up for exactly 2:23 of game action as the Canucks tied it on Ryan Stanton's one-timer from Jannik Hansen. It was Stanton's third goal of the season and he would be involved with another key play in the second period. There was a big scramble in front of Lack and Paille poked at a rebound that appeared headed over the line. You couldn't tell in real time but on replay, we noticed that Stanton actually gloved the puck and sent it away. The referees didn't see it and the NHL lacks a challenge system for coaches like the NFL so apparently it wasn't allowed to be viewed on replay. OK then.

The unlikely goal-scorers theme continued in the third period as Zack Kassian (rumored to be a Bruins trade target) blasted a one-timer that Rask never saw at 6:47. Daniel and Henrik Sedin assisted on Kassian's ninth goal of the season. Boston had plenty of zone time in the second (outshooting Vancouver 20-10) and in the third (13-8) plus they won 21 more faceoffs (48-27) led by Patrice Bergeron (31-7!) but none of that could help them muster another goal. The Bruins even pulled Rask with 2:02 left for the extra skater but it didn't matter.

If the B's bring that type of effort on Friday (7, NESN) in New Jersey (25-26-9) and Saturday (5:30, NESN) vs. Arizona (20-34-7), you have to believe that the final result will be different since both of those teams are garbage.

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