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Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Bruins Continue To Be Terrible at TD Garden This Season (10-12-2) After Falling 4-2 to the Canucks

So far this season if you have gone to any Bruins home games, there is a better than 50% chance that you have left TD Garden unhappy (assuming of course that you cheer for the Black and Gold). Once again, Boston (24-17-5) had a chance to climb up to the .500 mark at home (now 10-12-2) but they couldn't do it as they lost 4-2 to Vancouver (20-17-11) at TD Garden. It was a strange night as neither team was ever called for a single penalty, the first time that happened in a Bruins game in nearly two years (March 6, 2014 vs. Washington).

Basically, the only two things to really remember were all the emotional tributes that they had for Denna Laing (the Marblehead native that played for the Boston Pride and was paralyzed at Gillette Stadium in their game on New Year's Eve) and also Canucks star (and future Hall of Famer) Daniel Sedin scored two goals to become the franchise's leading goal-scorer (348 which helped him pass Markus Naslund who had 346).

Even though they were playing in their fifth game of a six-city road trip, Vancouver never trailed as they scored first and survived two pseudo-comebacks by the B's. Sven Baertschi gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead just 3:27 into the contest as he was able to poke in a shot past Tuukka Rask (23 saves) on a breakaway. Radim Vrbata and Bo Horvat assisted on Baerstchi's ninth goal of the season (Vancouver has points in 13 of the 14 games that he's been on the scoresheet this campaign).

Boston outshot Vancouver 11-4 in the first period and yet they trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes which is never a good sign when you can't take advantage of such a territorial edge. Starter Ryan Miller had the night off so Jacob Markstrom (28 saves) was the Canucks goaltender. Jimmy Hayes beat him at 19:08 of the second period when his shot deflected off defenseman Christopher Tanev's butt and in the net. Hayes' 11th goal of the season was assisted by David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner (who has 6 points in his last 6 games and 12 points in his last 11).

Alex Burrows has faded almost into oblivion (Vancouver's 4th line) but he was able to summon some of his former glory by putting the Canucks up 2-1 at 1:49 of the third period. His wicked turnaround shot went top-shelf on Rask. It was his seventh goal of the season (and his second game in a row with a tally after 24 straight without a goal), assisted by Linden Vey. Less than three minutes later, the Bruins' equivalent of Burrows (granted a much better player these days)-Marchand-knotted it up at two. Marchand's 18th goal of the season (tying him with Patrice Bergeron for the team lead) was assisted by Bergy at 4:15.

Twin brother Henrik is notably absent at the moment with an upper-body injury so Daniel is left to carry the Sedin last name for the next few weeks. He scored the game-winning goal at 7:03 of the third (his 78th career game-winner) by going to the net and putting in a rebound. He equaled Naslund's team-record of 20-goal seasons (10 and counting), assisted by Tanev and Jannik Hansen. Daniel clinched it with an empty-netter at 19:37, assisted by Vey and Derek Dorsett.

The Bruins host the NHL's worst team-the Blue Jackets (17-27-4) on Saturday night (7, NESN). They have to beat Columbus, who already has nothing left to play for in this miserable season and lost 4-2 in Calgary this evening. If I was coaching the B's (which thankfully for everyone, I'm not), I would start Jonas Gustavsson on Saturday just to give Rask a little break. David Krejci returned after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury of his own. He was a little rusty (-1, 7-10 on faceoffs) but Boston is always a markedly better team with him in the lineup. To make room for him, rookie Frank Vatrano (6 goals, 1 assist) was sent back to Providence.

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