Jan. 7, 2022, marked the 10th anniversary of what Vancouver Canucks fans refer to as Game 8, the first meeting between the Boston Bruins and Canucks since their 2011 Stanley Cup battle. It was one for the ages. Under the bright lights of TD Garden in Boston, the rivals put on a show with fights, a dirty hit that led to a suspension, and a bar-down goal that echoed through the building. The Canucks walked away with a 4-3 victory, something they were unable to do in Game 7. Here is a look back at that memorable game.
Game 8 Early Fisticuffs
The Canucks and Bruins got into a line brawl just under four minutes into the game. Alexandre Burrows, Maxim Lapierre, Shawn Thoroton, and Milan Lucic were involved as the lingering resentment from the 2011 playoffs was evident. During the commotion, Dale Weise and Nathan Horton separated from the group and dropped the gloves in a tussle that set the mood for the rest of the game.
The tough stuff did not stop; scrums developed after the whistle throughout the night, and Lapierre and Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves in a second bout late in the first. By the end of the game, the teams had combined for 107 penalty minutes, 72 of them in the first period. However, the Canucks showed they could stand their ground and take on the Bruins physically, which had been a concern in the Final.
Vigneault’s Unusual Goaltending Decision
During the 2011-12 season, the Canucks had one of the strongest goaltending tandems in the league. Roberto Luongo was the starter, but backup Cory Schneider was on the rise, looking to take over the crease. In Game 8, head coach Alain Vigneault decided to go with the young netminder instead of his number one in a surprising move that paid off.
Even from the bench, Luongo heard it from the fans who chanted from the stands. As for Schneider, he stopped 36 of 39 shots, including a penalty shot for the 4-3 win. In hindsight, the decision made sense as Luongo had a rough ride playing in Boston during the Stanley Cup Final. He eventually got his win in Boston, but he had to wait until March 23, 2016, when he was a member of the Florida Panthers.
Canucks Power Play Finally Strikes
During the Stanley Cup Final, the Canucks scored only one power-play goal in Boston. It was a big reason why they lost the Cup and a disappointment since they had the best power play in the league throughout the season, and it was strong throughout the playoffs. But in Game 8, they rediscovered their scoring touch, potting four power-play goals in the game.
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All four of Vancouver’s goals were scored with the man advantage, including the game-winner, which was a bar-down beauty by former first-rounder Cody Hodgson. The goal had the Canucks broadcast team in awe as the ping of the puck on the crossbar echoed throughout the building. Game 8 may have actually been his best game as a Canuck as he registered a goal and an assist with three shots on goal. Kesler, Burrows, and Henrik Sedin, who finally found a way to beat Tim Thomas at the Garden, were the other goalscorers.
A Low Blow From Marchand
Brad Marchand was at it again, clipping Sami Salo from behind, which caused the Finnish defenceman to fall awkwardly on his neck. He missed six games after the hit, while Marchand was suspended for five games.
Throughout the Final, Marchand was considered a dirty player. In the series, he upended Daniel Sedin after the whistle in Game 4. He wasn’t suspended on the play despite the national broadcasters repeatedly mentioning that the play was dangerous. Marchand’s suspension after the Salo hit was his third in the NHL. He now has seven, including a slew foot on Oliver Ekman-Larsson earlier this season, resulting in a three-game suspension.
An Important Win for Canuck Fans
Although the game may seem meaningless to Bruins fans, it was important to the Canucks. The team finally beat the Bruins in Boston, which they couldn’t do in the playoffs. Yes, the game had little significance in the standings or playoff race, but it was a hard-fought win that Canuck fans will remember for years.