It was Milan Lucic’s homecoming weekend of sorts in Vancouver. The Bruins power forward spent his formative junior hockey seasons playing for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL and while they did their part to honor him, Lucic did his own job in making sure his Bruins made the Vancouver faithful go home unhappy tonight.
Lucic had a goal and two assists in the Bruins 3-1 win over the West leading Canucks. Lucic’s goal turned out to be the game-winner snapping a 1-1 tie with under five minutes to play in the third period. Lucic then assisted on Patrice Bergeron’s empty net goal to ice it. Lucic helped set up Nathan Horton for his 16th goal of the season midway through the second period that tied the game at one. Manny Malhotra notched Vancouver’s lone goal in the first period.
CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty caught up with Lucic afterwards and he was beaming over the win.
“That’s almost a perfect ending to a perfect couple of days in Vancouver for myself. From start to finish it’s been a hell of an experience,” said a beaming Lucic.
Making it all standup, once again, was Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. Thomas made 27 saves on the night including his usual array of incredible stops to make it all stand up in the win column for Boston. Roberto Luongo was less busy on the night stopping 23 shots in the loss.
With the win, the Bruins move to 4-0-0 on their road trip with a game in Edmonton set for Sunday. The Bruins close out their six game swing with a battle in Ottawa on Tuesday. The win also helps the Bruins stay ahead of the Canadiens who are doing their part to stay on the Bruins heels, especially after their 4-3 win over Carolina earlier this evening.
More importantly, the win over Vancouver helps set the tone that the Bruins are, indeed, for real in the Eastern Conference. After all, beating the West’s top team comes with a lot of caché. Vancouver all year long has been the class of the NHL and for Boston to go into Rogers Arena and take out the Canucks says a lot about where they’re at. If the Bruins make a deep run in the playoffs and play for the Stanley Cup, people will look back on this game as the warning signal that they’re for real.