Hits and Misses: Bruins-Canucks

Hits and Misses: Bruins-Canucks
December 15, 2013, 2:15 am
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Here are the hits and misses from the Bruins 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at the Rogers Centre in their first visit there since clinching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final three years ago.
*Reilly Smith spent the morning resting and hydrating while suffering from a stomach flu, but played like he was 100 percent healthy for the Bruins on Saturday night with both of Boston’s goals. Smith generated seven shot attempts and several other Grade A scoring chances aside from the two goals, and is consistently taking the puck hard to the net with strength and determination. Smith is now tied for second on the team with nine goals and third on the team with 23 points in 33 games this season, and might end up being the only guy anybody really remembers coming back to Boston in the Tyler Seguin deal.
*Jarome Iginla appeared to badly dislocate his left ring finger in a brawl with Ryan Kesler in the first period, and looked like was seriously injured given the gruesome replays. But Iginla came out for the second period and didn’t miss another shift in the entire game while showing exactly what he can do while gathering some quality scoring chances. For Iginla it’s about supporting his teammates and perhaps even showing them what he’s made of, and there won’t be any doubts from his Bruins teammates after watching him return from the nasty-looking injury.
*Zdeno Chara did a good job of bottling up the Sedin Twins in 22:10 of ice time, and finished with seven generated shot attempts, four hits and five blocked shots while creating a major presence in the game. The Canucks didn’t do much of anything against Chara while the game was on the line.
*Give Roberto Luongo credit for making 39 saves and allowed only a pair of goals to the Bruins in Saturday night’s win for Vancouver. Now he just need to prove he can do it in Boston, which is a different accomplishment altogether.
*The Bruins are missing six regular skaters, got hit with a major flu bug on the road and still managed to take six of eight points against some good teams during their first west coast trip of the season. Things could have really good south when Jarome Iginla appeared to hurt his hand fighting Ryan Kesler, but instead the Bruins hung in for a beating vs. the Canucks that leaves them with six of a possible eight points on the road trip. Adversity always brings the best out of the Burins, and all the stuff they’ve faced over the last few weeks has prepared them to be best.
*The Bruins were down 3-1 when Brad Marchand made a “Kiss the Stanley Cup ring” motion in the second period toward one of the Sedin Twins, and then made a “Kiss the Stanley Cup” motion while raising the imaginary hardware over his head while down 4-1 when he was skating by the Vancouver bench in the second period. Ryan Kesler called it “no class”, but Marchand’s words actually seem tame given some of the stuff I’ve heard in dressing rooms over the years. But the timing wasn’t perfect for Marchand, who needs to be more selective about when/how/who he trash talks while continually trying to make himself a better player.
*Was surprised there weren’t any milk crates tossed on the ice during Thursday night’s game as Tuukka Rask didn’t have his normal efficiency. He was finally yanked from the net for the first time all season in the third period of Boston’s loss to San Diego, and appears to still be battling some flu symptoms that felled him over the last few days.
*Torey Krug had arguably his worst game of the season: a minus-3 rating, and was equal parts manhandled by Ryan Kesler and getting out-quickened by David Booth en route to way too many adventures around the net.  
*Because of the schedule, the injuries, the travel and the drama surrounding the suspensions, the Bruins aren’t getting a chance to gain separation with other teams in the league during the first half of the season. But they’d better do it as they face 17 NHL games during the month of March coming off the Olympics that lead eventually to a grueling playoff schedule.