By Joe Haggerty
VANCOUVER The prodigal son returned, and he showed his fellow Vancouverites just how good hes become.David Krejci created the goal by driving to the net and carrying a Vancouver defender with him, and Milan Lucic fought off an uncalled interference on Sami Salo to the get to the front of the net and pound home the reboundof a Dennis Seidenberg shotfor his 27th goal of the season.That score gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead late in the third period, and gave Vancouver native Lucic the NHL hometown moment he's dreamed about his entire life. An empty-net goal by Patrice Bergeron, assisted by Lucic, gave the Bruins a 3-1 win over the Canucks in a playoff-atmosphere at Rogers Arena, and capped off whats been an unforgettable homecoming in Vancouver for one of its favored sons."That's almosta perfect ending to a perfect couple of days in Vancouver for myself. From start to finish it's been a hell of an experience," said a beaming Lucic. "It was great to see the whole team battle all night, and get the win."How many times had Lucic imagined in his East Vancouver backyard that he'd someday put away a game-winning goal in an NHL game at his home rink?"Thousands and thousands and thousands," said Lucic. "You remember playing hockey in your backyard here, and scoring big goals. Those type of things. Being able to play and get a big game-winner in front of your friends, family and a lot of Bruins fans that were in the crowd tonight is a great feeling definitely."Lucic held his hands upward for a mini-celebration after the score, and once again showed exactly why hes got the reputation as a big game player during his time with the Bruins. Lucic finished with a goal and assists in the 3-1 win, and hoots, hollers and shouts of celebration could be heard in the B's dressing from the entire Lucic family celebrating in an adjacent room.
The Canucks got the better of the first period, outshooting the Bruins and taking a narrow lead on a Manny Malhotra goal while an army of Vancouver forwards crashed the front of the net.In a game that had a playoff feel to it, that was a postseason kind of a goal to be sure.
The Bruins stormed back with a strong second period that culminated in Nathan Hortons fourth point in the last four games. Tomas Kaberle started the play off and earned his first point in the Bs uniform with a long shot off the back boards that Milan Lucic corralled into a follow shot. Horton twice fought off Mason Raymond in front of the net for rebounds, and the second one beat a butterfly-found Roberto Luongo.
Patrice Bergeron added the empty-netter for the Bruins with little more than a minute remaining to ice a big "measuring stick"victory for the Black and Gold. Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs