BOSTON – There wasn’t anything flashy about the Bruins' 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night, and it’s not a regular-season game anyone's going to remember years from now.
But the Bruins did an impressive job of clamping the vice grips on the Canucks and keeping Vancouver’s skaters far from the net. There was a shorthanded breakaway bid in the second period by Daniel Sedin, but the quality scoring chances allowed by Boston were few and far in between.
That’s because the Bruins played a heavy, physical game while leaning on Vancouver's skill players, and they simply wouldn’t surrender the slot to the Canucks’ playmaking forces.
“We just played a solid game against a pretty solid team tonight," said coach Claude Julien.
That kind of performance stems from quality defense in their own zone, and quality goaltending from Tuukka Rask. It really was a textbook dismantling of a struggling Canucks squad, which has now lost five in a row.
The vast majority of Vancouver’s 28 shots came from far outside the slot area, and that’s exactly what Boston wants.
“I think today we played a pretty solid 60-minute game," said Rask. "I didn’t have to make too many saves there. It’s always good when they get a chance and you make a save and then your team scores right after that. That was a good sign.
“It always happens that the other team gets a chance or two no matter how good you play. In the first 10 minutes [of the third period] they weren’t seeing that many shots, and we totally shut them down. Then a couple little mistakes there and they get a chance, but we shut them down pretty good.”
Clearly Vancouver isn’t the same offensive juggernaut with Henrik Sedin struggling with an injury. But the Bruins' stifling defense never gave Vancouver a chance to get started, and that made all the difference.