Welcome to Canucks Hockey: Warning! Potential Choking Area Ahead!
These last few days for the Boston Bruins have been rivalry fed. The Bruins were easily defeated by a struggling Montreal Canadiens squad due to not playing to the Claude Julien system. The Bruins played to that system, and they played a great game for us against the Edmonton Oilers.
Chad Johnson did a solid job in the pipes for us tonight, handing Edmonton a 4-0 shutout loss at the TD Garden. This brings Chad Johnson to a 10-3-1 record. His save percentage (.923%) is a sliver below Tuukka Rask‘s (.928%) Their goals against average are practically identical with Rask (2.12) barely edging out Johnson (2.14). Tuukka has been pulled from the net four times this seasons for various reasons. Tuukka will need to be ready for Tuesday’s game against the Canucks.
There is still a lot of that infamous 2011 team playing for Vancouver. The Sedin brothers, Daniel and Henrik (Brad Marchand just calls them his matching punching bags.), are still on the squad. Alexandre Burrows, more famous in Boston for his teeth than his shot still plays there. The last time they met, Marchand upped his pest level to a factor of ten (and in retrospect, it was the beginning of the turn around for #63 in his performance), but it still wasn’t enough as the Canucks practically ran over the Bruins in a 6-2 shellacking.
Things have changed during the season though. John Tortorella, head coach of the Vancouver Canucks flew into a tirade that led to him charging into the Calgary Flames‘ locker room and earned himself a six game suspension. The Vancouver Canucks have slowly slid down the Western Conference, where they currently sit fourth in the Pacific Division. In fact, they are only one point ahead of the Phoenix (soon to be Arizona) Coyotes for the eight spot in the playoffs. They’ve played maddeningly inconsistent hockey and their performance has shown it. While the Bruins have suffered from similar problems, they haven’t gone to the extremes Vancouver has, and they still stand proud atop the Atlantic Division and are second in the Eastern Conference.
Tuukka Rask will likely get the start for Boston. He needs to be ready. He has to be able to play to a team that has had his number earlier in the season. The Canucks was one of the games where Rask was chased out of the crease. In the middle of December, the Bruins were playing with several Providence players, and a hodge podge of AHL and injured Bruins. This won’t be the case this time, and the Bruins will be better able to help Rask out of tight situations. Roberto Luongo is the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde goaltender, and all it will take is some solid early pressure to open the flood gates on him.
The Canucks will be desperate, but the Bruins will be ready when Vancouver comes to the TD Garden on Tuesday.