It was a scoring bonanza on Thursday night at TD Garden, as the Vancouver Canucks exploded for eight goals – five against Jaroslav Halak, three on Tuukka Rask – as the Bruins fell 8-5 at TD Garden on Thursday.
Despite five goals and some rare secondary scoring, the B’s struggled with turnovers all night and lost too many puck battles in their own zone, and the goalies couldn’t bail the defense out when they needed to. It added up to a perfect storm of ineptitude for the Black & Gold.
Things weren’t so wild to start the game. Bo Horvat opened the scoring for Vancouver when he took advantage of a David Backes turnover in the Boston zone and slipped a wrister through Jaroslav Halak. It was a bad omen for the Bruins goaltender, who came hurtling back to Earth after a superb start to the season.
Halak ended up allowing five goals on 19 shots, with four coming in the second period. After Matt Grzelcyk’s tying goal made it 1-1 after the first period, the floodgates opened in the middle frame. Vancouver got two goals from ex-Bruin Loui Eriksson, and one each from Ben Hutton, Antoine Roussel, and Erik Gudbranson. The latter goal was the final straw for Halak, who was chased in favor of Tuukka Rask – who gave up a goal of his own shortly after coming into the game.
Fortunately, the Bruins also got a goal from Patrice Bergeron and two from Jake DeBrusk. The winger’s first goal was the first by a Bruins forward other than Bergeron, Brad Marchand, or David Pastrnak at even strength in 408 minutes and 57 seconds, dating back to Oct. 20 when Joakim Nordstrom scored against these same Canucks.
But from there, it only got worse for the Bruins. Horvat made it 7-4 after he intercepted a breakout attempt by Rask, who came way out to play the puck, and fired it easily into the open net. Jake Virtanen mercifully finished off the scoring for Vancouver when he ripped a change-up from the slot that fooled Rask. Danton Heinen got the proverbial monkey off his back with his first goal of the season to make it 8-5, but the damage was most certainly done.
The Bruins need to clean up their issues with defense and puck management in a hurry, because the high-powered Toronto Maple Leafs are coming to Boston on Saturday night. It won’t matter who’s in net if they can’t fix their other problems.
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