Preview: Bruins Continue Playoff Push Against Fading Canucks

For the third time in the last four games, the Vancouver Canucks will face an opponent that recently employed a new head coach.

After losing to both the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders, Vancouver will now take on Bruce Cassidy and the Boston Bruins. Both Claude Julien and Doug Weight have had success behind the bench with their new teams, and Cassidy is no different. The Bruins are 10-3 in their last 13 games since Cassidy took over, and they haven’t lost to a non-playoff team since a 6-5 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings on January 18.

This spells trouble for the Canucks, who have gone 4-6-3 since they last played the Bruins on February 11. They are also 8-13-7 since the end of their six-game winning streak in January. The only two Canucks who have stood above the rest during these dreary two months have been Bo Horvat and Ryan Miller. Despite posting a .918 save percentage since the end of the Canucks’ winning streak, Miller has only five wins in his last 20 starts. Bruins starter Tuukka Rask has 13 wins in 23 starts since January 7th, but his save percentage is only at .897.

The Canucks will need to watch out for their nemesis Brad Marchand in this matchup, who has been absolutely on fire over the last two months. He has 22 goals and 38 points over his last 27 games. Youngster David Pastrnak, who has 31 points in his last 27 games, put the nail in the Canucks’ coffin last time these teams played.

He scored the game-winning goal with exactly two minutes remaining. It was a game Willie Desjardins has pointed to on a few occasions as being a turning point in the Canucks’ season. The Canucks battled hard in that game, and probably deserved a better fate. That is an all too common storyline for the Canucks this season.

Boston Bruins at Vancouver Canucks

Monday, March 13, Rogers Arena, 7:00 p.m.

Broadcast Channels: SNP, NESN

2016-17 Season Series: Feb 11. – Canucks 3 – Bruins 4

Boston Bruins: 36-26-6, 78 Points, 7th in Eastern Conference

Hot Players: Brad Marchand (12 points last 10 GP), Patrice Bergeron (11 points last 10 GP), David Pastrnak (10 points last 10 GP)

Key Injuries: Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner

Projected Lines


Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes

Drew Stafford – David Krejci – David Pastrnak

Matt Beleskey – Riley Nash – Frank Vatrano

Peter Cehlarik – Dominic Moore – Jimmy Hayes


Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Colin Miller – Kevan Miller

Starting Goaltender

Tuukka Rask

Vancouver Canucks: 28-31-9, 65 Points, 11th in Western Conference

Hot Players: Bo Horvat (10 points last 12 GP)

Key Injuries: Loui Eriksson, Nikolay Goldobin, Brendan Gaunce, Chris Tanev, Jacob Markstrom, Anton Rodin, Jack Skille, Erik Gudbranson, Derek Dorsett

Projected Lines


Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Markus Granlund

Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Reid Boucher

Joseph Cramarossa – Brandon Sutter – Drew Shore

Joseph LaBate – Michael Chaput – Jayson Megna


Alex Edler – Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa – Ben Hutton

Nikita Tryamkin – Alex Biega

Starting Goaltender

Ryan Miller

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Marchand isn’t the only Bruin piling up the points. Pastrnak, Bergeron, David Krejci and Tory Krug all have more than 20 points in their last 27 games. Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak, all have 30 or more in that time span. Not even the hottest Canuck, Bo Horvat, has more than 20 points in his last 27 games.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Krug has been paired with Adam McQuaid for the majority of the season, and it seems to be letting him find his offensive rhythm. The strategy of pairing a defensive defenceman with an offensive one was a strategy that was supposed to work for the Canucks with Ben Hutton and Erik Gudbranson. but Krug is a couple of years ahead on the development curve compared to Hutton. The Canucks would love to see Hutton or Troy Stecher reach that offensive potential in the next couple of years.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Drew Shore will make his debut for the Canucks tonight, after signing a contract for the rest of the season on Sunday. Jim Benning looks to be giving another youngish forward a chance at NHL success. Shore has nine goals and 24 points in 80 career NHL games. In honour of the great Kyle Wellwood, Shore will wear #42 for the Canucks.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] How many shots will Vancouver give up tonight? As Jason Botchford mentioned in his latest version of The Provies, it seems like the Canucks’ goal is to keep shots against under 40 per night. Talk about setting the bar low. Ryan Miller absolutely stood on his head just to give the Canucks a fighting chance against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough. Miller will get the start in goal again tonight.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] If you’re looking for moral victories, Michael Chaput and Joseph Cramarossa looked good for the Canucks on Saturday. Chaput had a few good shifts with the Sedins while playing with some jump and confidence. Cramarossa gave Vancouver a much-needed physical edge, while almost scoring a goal. Still, these bottom-six forwards need to find a way to chip in offensively if they want to be part of the organization moving forward.