In a way, it’s kind of ironic that NHL Safety Board officials will announce the length of Bruins forward Shawn Thornton’s suspension as the Bruins wrap up the final leg of a three game Western Canada tour in Vancouver tonight. With many expecting the usual fisticuffs that accompany these cross-conference foes, having a sheriff like Thornton patrolling the ice Saturday night might be in the best interests of NHL officials, but unfortunately, you reap what you sow.
The personnel has changed up quite a bit since the last two teams met on January 7, 2012 in Boston, but the core group of both sides remain the same. It’s safe to say that it won’t take long for Brad Marchand to renew acquaintances with his favorite twins or for Ryan Kesler to stir up the plot by tolling the line around goaltender Tuukka Rask after the whistle.
Basically, the best kind of hockey.
Since suffering defeat at the hands of the Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, hockey fans have been treated to only one rematch between these two teams, who transparently don’t respect the playing style of one another. Let’s take a look at how the two teams matchup.
Boston Bruins (22-8-2) | 1st in Atlantic Division | 1st in Eastern Conference at Vancouver Canucks (17-9-3) | 4th in Pacific Division | 3rd in Eastern Conference)
Start: 10:00pm EST
TV Broadcast: NESN, CBC
Radio Broadcast: 98.5 The Sports Hub
|Team||Goals For/Game||Goals Allowed/Game||Power-Play %||Penalty-Kill %||5-on-5 GF/GA Ratio||vs. Opposing Conference|
*Based off NHL Rankings
Last 10 Games Played
|Boston Bruins||Goals||Assists||Points||+/-||Special Teams Points|
|Vancouver Canucks||Goals||Assists||Points||+/-||Special Teams Points|
|W/L/OTL||Goals Against Average||Save %||Shutouts|
Players to Watch
BOS: Tuukka Rask
– Still battling the effects of the flu bug, the 26-year-old Olympic bound Rask was relegated to backup duties in Edmonton on Thursday night. With a banged up defensive core and the loss of two short-handed specialists in Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly, a strong performance in goal will be vital against a scorching Canucks team that’s won six straight games. Over the course of his young career, Rask has only faced Vancouver once, nearly four years ago at the TD Garden, which the Canucks won in a overtime shootout, 3-2, behind the 41-saves of the goaltending enigma known as Roberto Luongo.
VAN: Ryan Kesler
– Heading into the Stanley Cup Finals against Boston a few years back, the multi-faceted center produced a career high 42 regular season goals. During the Stanley Cup Finals, Kesler seemingly fell off the map, mostly due to a hip injury that required offseason surgery, resulting in only one assist, 35 penalty minutes and a minus-6 rating over the seven game span. This season, Kesler finally seems to be at full health, notching 15 goals in 34 games played with five game-winning-goals and is surely salivating at the opportunity to punish Bruins defensemen.
Stats, Not Opinion
914- The amount of days since Boston’s last appearance in Vancouver.
107- The total amount of penalty minutes combined between the Canucks and Bruins the last time they met on January 7, 2012.
2- The total amount of games in which Roberto Luongo has exited before the games final buzzer, as well as the total amount of games Luongo was pulled during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against Boston.
3- This season, Tuukka Rask is 3-4-1 in games which he’s had three days or more of rest this season.
10,000- The number of Mounties needed to contain riots from occurring in Vancouver tonight.
BOS(-105) at VAN(-115) | OU 5
*Using SportsInsights.com’s Bet Labs Software, we learn that Boston hasn’t been profitable as underdogs against Vancouver since 2005-2006, but as favorites, the Bruins are 4-1 against the Canucks.