The event was kicked off by James White and various other members of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots dropping the puck for the ceremonial face off. The presence of the Patriots created a loud atmosphere at the TD Garden from the first face off to the final buzzer.
The opening minutes of this contest saw the Bruins being rather aggressive and generating a lot of offensive zone time. Part of the Bruins aggressive strategy was to have their defensemen pinch often and drift down the wall into the zone as well. While the approach led to some scoring opportunities, it also allowed the Canucks numerous odd-man rushes.
It was one of these odd-man rushes that allowed the Canucks to get on the board first at the 4:56 mark of the frame. As a Bruins defender joined the attack, forward, David Pastrnak turned the puck over in the Canucks zone to send the visitors on a three on one break. Goaltender Anton Khudobin was able to make a save on the first shot, but Bo Horvat banged in the rebound for his 16th tally of the season.
Following the goal, the Bruins went back on the attack and forced Canucks goalie Ryan Miller to make a series of crucial saves. The biggest save came when Pastrnak found himself all alone with space and attempted a backhand deke on Miller, but the veteran goaltender made a beautiful diving save to preserve the Canucks lead.
However, at the 13:33 mark, the Bruins got on the board when blueliner Kevan Miller joined a rush, received a pass from Ryan Spooner and fired a shot to beat Ryan Miller low to the blocker side. Kevan Miller’s second goal of the season tied the game at one.
The home team would strike again after receiving a power play opportunity with just over two minutes remaining in the period. With the Bruins controlling the puck, David Krejci found Frank Vatrano all alone in front of the Canucks’ net, and Vatrano drove home a one-timer to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead with 37 seconds left in the frame.
At the end of the period, the Bruins led the Canucks in shots 16-8.
The opening minutes of the second period saw a good amount of back and forth action with the best early chance belonging to the Bruins. The chance occurred when a puck squirted from behind the Canucks’ net and found the stick of Krejci on top of the crease for a point-blank shot, but Miller was able to make a spectacular left pad save.
After the save by Miller, the Canucks went on to dominate the majority of the frame by outshooting the home club 15-3.
In the final three minutes, the Canucks ferociously attacked the Bruins and received some high-quality chances as a result. One of the chances saw Henrik Sedin ring a shot off the crossbar, and the other saw Khudobin, the Bruins goaltender, make an in-close pad stop on Horvat.
It took the entire second period, but the Canucks eventually snuck a puck past Khudobin. With 0.6 seconds left on the clock, Alexandre Burrows threw a rebound back towards the net, and the puck squeaked between Khudobin’s pad and the post to tie the game the game at two.
After a dominating performance by the Canucks in the closing stages of the second period, the Bruins were determined to come out strong to start the final frame. Just 2:12 into the period Bruins defender Colin Miller received a drop pass from Jimmy Hayes and rifled a slap shot over Ryan Miller’s shoulder to give the home team a 3-2 lead.
After the goal, both clubs traded chances and picked up the game pace, but each chance was fended off by the goaltenders. With 7:06 left in the period, Bruins forward Tim Schaller was sent to the penalty box for slashing, giving the Canucks a great chance to tie the game.
The Canucks were able to take advantage of the power play as Markus Granlund won a battle in the corner, made his way to the high slot and received a pass that he slid past Khudobin to tie the game at three.
The scoring would not stop there as the Bruins had no intentions of letting the game reach an overtime period. With two minutes left on the clock, Pastrnak took a cross-ice pass from Krejci, streaked down the left wing and beat Miller to the far side for his 100th career NHL point.
With the Bruins up by one, the Canucks pulled their goalie and started to attack the home club. Henrik Sedin almost tied the game once again with an off-angle shot, but he hit the post for the second time of the afternoon, allowing the Bruins to hold on for a 4-3 victory.
VAN-Bo Horvat (16) assisted by Jannik Hansen (6) and Alexandre Burrows (10)
BOS-Kevan Miller (2) assisted by Ryan Spooner (20) and Frank Vatrano(4)
BOS-Frank Vatrano (7) PPG assisted by David Krejci (23) and Torey Krug (30)
VAN-Alexandre Burrows (8) assisted by Jannik Hansen (7) and Bo Horvat (20)
BOS-Colin Miller (4) assisted by Jimmy Hayes (2) and Frank Vatrano (5)
VAN-Markus Granlund (14) PPG assisted by Alexander Edler (10) and Ben Hutton (9)
BOS-David Pastrnak (25) assisted by David Krejci (24) and Adam McQuaid (4)
THW THREE STARS
First: Frank Vatrano (1 goal, 2 assists)
Second: David Pastrnak (GWG)
Third: Bo Horvat (1 goal, 1 assist)
Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NBCSN, SN, RDS, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: Montreal Leads 2-1
Vancouver Canucks at Buffalo Sabres
KeyBank Center-Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-MSG-B, SNP
2016-17 Season Series: Vancouver Leads 1-0
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.