Chris Tanev

Providence stuns BU to capture first-ever NCAA title

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Providence captured its first-ever NCAA men’s hockey title on Saturday night in thrilling fashion, scoring twice in the final nine minutes to shock the Jack Eichel-led Boston University Terriers 4-3 at TD Garden in Boston.

Brandon Tanev, the younger brother of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev, scored the game-winning goal at the 13:43 mark of the third, capping off a daunting comeback — heading into tonight, BU was a remarkable 19-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.

With a record like that, one would assume something significant would have to occur for the Terriers to cough up a third-period lead.

At the 11:24 mark, it did.

BU goalie Matt O’Connor gloved a harmless dump-in and tried to flip the puck to a teammate. That marked the beginning of calamity; O’Connor put a hitch in the flip and the puck came loose, hitting the ice — then the back of his leg — before crossing the goal line.

O’Connor appeared rattled from that point on.

In the other goal, Providence netminder Jon Gillies looked anything but. He finished with a whopping 49 saves on 52 shots, including several in the frenzied final minutes when BU pushed to even the score.

“Frenzied” was a good way to describe several portions of the title game. After Providence opened the scoring with an Anthony Florentino goal midway through the first period, the Terriers responded in rapid fashion scoring twice in a four-second span — the first by Ahti Oksanen, the second by Danny O’Reagan.

From there, the teams traded markers in the second period with another Flames draftee — Mark Jankowski — scoring for the Friars while Carson Hohmann tallied for BU.

As for Eichel, the freshman Hobey Baker winner finished the night with one assist and six shots on goal in what will likely be his last collegiate game. The 18-year-old is expected to be the No. 2 pick behind OHL Erie’s Connor McDavid at this June’s NHL Entry Draft, and will be going pro.

Red-hot Weber could be tough for Canucks to keep

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Canucks defenseman Yannick Weber entered the 2014-15 season knowing he had to be more reliable at five-on-five. That much was made clear by then-new coach Willie Desjardins.

Fast forward to the present and Weber has done just that. The 26-year-old has not been a defensive liability and, moreover, he leads all Vancouver blue-liners with 11 goals and has been a big reason the Canucks’ power play has climbed all the way to No. 8 in the NHL.

Consider: of his team’s last 11 power-play goals, Weber has scored four of them and has assists on two more. His booming right-hand shot from the point, on full display last night versus the Coyotes, has many in Vancouver recalling the days when Sami Salo would hammer it home from back there.

It also has observers wondering if the Canucks will be able to re-sign the pending restricted free agent.

Weber sounds like he’d like to stay.

“This is the team that gave me a second chance at a career in this league after Montreal and I’ve had some real good looks here,” he said, per The Province. “I’ve gotten a lot of trust from the coaches here and that goes a long way for any player.”

But in the wake of Luca Sbisa’s $10.8 million extension, will the Canucks have enough cap space to get something done? Because they also have Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis, and Chris Tanev under contract through at least next season; those five will have a combined cap hit of $22.15 million in 2015-16.

It’s possible the Canucks could convince Weber to take a hometown discount next season, with the promise of more to come in the future.

It’s also possible they could try and trade Bieksa, who has just one year remaining before he can become an unrestricted free agent. But the 33-year-old franchise stalwart would need to agree to it, and leaving Vancouver isn’t something he’s shown much of a desire to do.

Losing Weber could hurt though.

“He’s played real well for us,” Desjardins said. “He’s made a difference. … To be successful, you need contributions like that from different guys and when you look back at the year … he made a big difference how he stepped up.”

Canucks sign ‘extremely important’ Tanev to five-year extension

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The Vancouver Canucks have locked up one of their key young pieces through 2020-21, signing 25-year-old defenseman Chris Tanev to a five-year contract extension.

“Chris has developed into an excellent NHL defenseman and is an extremely important part of our team,” said GM Jim Benning in a release. “He’s a player you want on the ice in the most critical points of a game and we’re excited about having him with our group as we continue to play to win today, with an eye to the future.”

Tanev’s cap hit is reportedly $4.45 million, just slightly lower than teammates Dan Hamhuis ($4.5 million), Kevin Bieksa ($4.6 million), and Alex Edler ($5 million).

Undrafted, Tanev originally signed with the Canucks in 2010 as a college free agent. He’s since played 216 games in the NHL, scoring 10 goals with 33 assists, while being deployed in a predominantly defensive role.

This season, Tanev has skated with Edler on the Canucks’ top pairing. He also averages a team-high 2:46 on Vancouver’s third-ranked penalty kill.

After 10-game absence, Tanev (concussion) back for Canucks

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The Vancouver Canucks will get some much-needed defensive reinforcements tonight against Anaheim, as Chris Tanev will play for the first time since suffering a concussion on Feb. 14.

“It will be fun to get back out there,” Tanev said, per News 1130. “I am just going to go out there, work hard and trying and keep things simple. They are a good team over there so it will be a tough game to jump right back in to.”

Tanev, a pending RFA, was averaging nearly 22 minutes a night for Vancouver prior to getting hurt and is arguably the club’s top defensive defenseman. He leads the team and sits 16th in the NHL in blocked shots, with 131.

Tanev will be paired with Alex Edler and join Dan Hamhuis, Luca Sbisa, Ryan Stanton and Frank Corrado on the Vancouver defense tonight. Corrado is in for Adam Clendening, who’ll sit; fellow defenseman Kevin Bieksa remains sidelined following hand surgery.

Bonino expected to return for Canucks versus Bruins

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The Vancouver Canucks, inundated with injuries of late, will actually have a player returning to the lineup tonight in Boston.

Nick Bonino (11G, 14A) is expected to be back centering the second line. The 26-year-old has been out since Feb. 9, when he hurt his foot blocking a shot versus Minnesota.

“It’s always good when you get some guys back,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said, per NHL.com. “You know he’s a big part for us and we’ve missed him while he’s been out. So if he’s back it’ll be great.”

The Canucks will still be without a number of regulars versus the Bruins, including three key defensemen, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, and Chris Tanev. Winger Alex Burrows is also expected to miss tonight’s game. And, of course, Ryan Miller will be sidelined for a while, leaving the starting goalie duties to Eddie Lack.

The Canucks have two games left on their five-game trip. They finish up Thursday in Buffalo.

Projected lines tonight:

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Zack Kassian
Shawn Matthias – Nick Bonino – Radim Vrbata
Chris Higgins – Linden Vey – Derek Dorsett
Ronalds Kenins – Bo Horvat – Jannik Hansen

Related: With Krejci injured (again), opportunity knocks (again) for Spooner