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Feb 7, 2024 7:31 pm

NHL’s best collide as Bruins welcome Canucks to town

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The NHL’s top two teams will clash for the first time this season when the Boston Bruins host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Both teams returned to the ice on Tuesday following the All-Star break and saw different results. League-leading Vancouver began a five-game road trip and pushed its point streak to 12 games (10-0-2) with a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Boston — which sits just two points back in the overall league standings — was dominated in a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.

Elias Lindholm, who was acquired in a trade with Calgary on Jan. 31, scored twice on the power play in his Canucks debut in Carolina. J.T. Miller netted the game-winning goal in the third period.

“It’s always nice to score and help the team,” Lindholm said. “Obviously, I’m happy to be here and be part of this team. There was a lot of information, a lot of new stuff in my head, but I just tried to play my game, work hard and keep it simple.”

The Canucks were victorious despite being outshot 24-19. Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko has won his past nine starts and is 15-1-1 in his past 17 appearances.

Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser each had two assists on Tuesday. Hughes has seven assists across his past three games and has totaled 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) during a seven-game point streak.

Canucks coach Rick Tocchet was impressed with his team’s effort, especially on the defensive side, against a Carolina team that generates heavy shot volume.

“I thought we had an excellent first, and then we grinded it out at the end,” Tocchet said. “I thought we played a really good hockey game. Carolina, they were pushing at the end. Two good hockey teams.”

The Bruins had won seven of their previous eight games and had lost just twice in regulation to Western Conference teams all season (12-2-5) before what coach Jim Montgomery called a “poor” effort against Calgary.

“Obviously as a coaching staff, you look inwardly, and you look at our preparation,” Montgomery said. “You always think, as a coach, your preparation was good. But obviously it wasn’t good enough. A lot of mental mistakes. A lot of physical mistakes. That’s a lack of real good preparation individually and collectively.”

Pavel Zacha scored Boston’s lone goal on Tuesday in the third period. He has recorded points in three consecutive games.

All-Star David Pastrnak had an assist to give him 73 points through 50 games on the season, the most points by a Bruin in 50 games in the last 30 years.

Boston will have little time to dwell on the loss as the league’s best team comes into town for the second game of a seven-game homestand.

“We had a plan to win the game and we just didn’t do it the right way,” Zacha said. “(The Flames) outplayed us (Tuesday). That’s something we have to learn from coming from the break. They came from a break, too, so that’s not really an excuse for us.”

Rookie forward Matthew Poitras did not play on Tuesday as he continues to deal with an apparent shoulder injury. Jake DeBrusk and Derek Forbort returned to the lineup.

–Field Level Media

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