Things aren’t getting any easier for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins 3-1 at TD Garden, good for their fifth straight loss.
Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla each had a goal and an assist and Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots. Raphael Diaz scored his first goal as a Canuck and Roberto Luongo made 29 saves.
If there’s a positive to be taken out of this game for Vancouver it’s that they played with a less-than healthy roster and hung in tough with the Bruins. Henrik Sedin was playing in obvious pain, Ryan Kesler was laying out to block shots with seconds left to play, and they had a few too many guys who have been in Utica recently to try and keep up with Boston.
While they had all that going on, Luongo took the loss on his shoulders.
Vancouver’s five-game road trip marches on to Montreal on Thursday and Toronto on Saturday.
The Boston Bruins already drew the 2010 Winter Classic, but it sounds like the team wants to be a part of another outdoor game. The pitch is a pretty strong one, too; they’d host the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium next time around, at least according to the Sports Business Daily’s Chris Botta.
Housing arguably the most storied rivalry in NHL history is a strong sell, but it’s not as if the league lacks suitors for outdoor games.
From Colorado to New York and even Cleveland, there are plenty of venues that would be delighted to host a game in unpredictable conditions. The most recent report points to four outdoor games taking place in 2014-15, but plenty can change to either add or subtract contests from the docket.
Still, it’s easy to see the allure of the Canadiens and Bruins adding even more history to a rivalry that’s meant a lot to the league for a very long time.
The 2014 Winter Olympics can be a lot of different things to different players. For Edmonton Oilers defenseman Martin Marincin, it’s a golden opportunity to learn from one of the game’s elite.
Marincin, 21, has only played in 19 NHL contests, but he’ll be making the trip to Sochi and playing for Team Slovakia with Boston’s Zdeno Chara. Oilers coach Dallas Eakins has known Chara since 1999 when they were both at the Islanders’ training camp, so the bench boss has been playing matchmaker.
He’s been pushing Martin to bombard Chara with questions during their time together while asking the Bruins blueliner to help the youngster out.
“(Chara) said he’d spend lots of time with him,” Eakins told the Edmonton Journal. “Zdeno even texted me later, after we were on the plane, reiterating what he had promised.”
Among other things, Eakins is hoping that Chara’s work ethic rubs off on Marincin. At 188 pounds, the rookie defenseman has some room to grow given his 6-foot-4 frame. Eakins has noticed Marincin’s progress, but also feels his strength level has been an issue at times.
The time he spends with Chara probably won’t pay immediate dividends, but it could prove to be a valuable experience as he works towards the next phase of his career.
After some earlier speculation, the Boston Bruins have confirmed that captain Zdeno Chara will miss two games so that he can attend the 2014 Winter Olympics’ opening ceremonies. He will carry the flag for Slovakia.
This will be a great experience for Chara, but it will also put the Bruins in a tough situation. They’ve already been playing without Dennis Seidenberg, so their defense will be a little thin during Chara’s absence.
He’ll be absent for a pair of tough contests too as Boston is set to face the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 6 before playing the division rival Ottawa Senators on Feb. 8.
The Bruins currently hold the Atlantic Division title and they hold a four-point edge on the Tampa Bay Lightning despite having played in one less contest. They’ll try to give themselves a bit more breathing room before the break, even if they’ll have to accomplish that without Chara for part of that stretch.
After breaking an NHL record with his 59-save shutout on Wednesday, what will Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens do for an encore this afternoon against Boston?
Oilers coach Dallas Eakins doubtlessly hopes that it won’t involve having to stop another 59 shots. Wednesday’s shutout was the team’s third straight win, but Eakins would like to see his squad help out their netminder significantly more this time around.
Edmonton captain Andrew Ference should certainly help in that regard. He’s missed three straight contests due to a head injury, but he’s good to face his former teammates today.
Ference won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins and while he’s already played against them once this season, this will be his first game in Boston since signing with the Oilers over the summer.
“It will be nice to see him back in the Garden and I know he’s going to probably get a couple claps for him and it’s well-deserved,” his former defensive partner, Johnny Boychuk, told the Bruins’ website.
The game will start at 1:00 p.m. ET. Boston will be attempting to rebound from a 4-1 loss to Montreal in order to build some breathing room between them and the rest of the Atlantic Division before the Olympic break.