Bruins get a late lift from Lucic
His third-period goal sinks Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The script couldn’t have been written any better for Milan Lucic.
On Friday, the native of East Vancouver, who played his junior hockey at Pacific Coliseum, returned to his home rink and had his No. 27 entered into the Giants’ Ring of Honor. Last night, Lucic executed what he played out in his mind all the time as a boy. Lucic scored the winning goal against his hometown club in front of his family and friends to lead the Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the league-leading Canucks.
“It’s a perfect ending to a perfect couple days here in Vancouver for myself,’’ said Lucic. “From start to finish, it’s been a hell of an experience. It’s great to see our whole team battle the whole night to get that win.’’
With the score tied at 1 in the third period, the game-changing sequence started in the defensive zone. Zdeno Chara got the puck to Lucic, who gave it to David Krejci. As the Bruins hustled up ice, Krejci dangled through seemingly the entire population of greater Vancouver. Krejci curled around the net, then found Dennis Seidenberg at the point. Seidenberg’s shot hit Keith Ballard in front, then bounced to the ice.
“Krech doing what he does best,’’ Lucic said. “Making moves and dishing the puck. It was a great shot by Seids to get in on net.’’
That’s where Lucic hopped on the loose puck and beat Roberto Luongo at 15:22.
“You remember playing in your backyard here and scoring big goals,’’ said Lucic. “To be able to play a big game and get the game-winner in front of friends and family and all the Bruins fans who came out here, it’s a great feeling.’’
Patrice Bergeron added an empty-net goal at 18:47.
The Bruins fell behind by a goal in the first period. But in the second, Nathan Horton beat Luongo for the tying goal. After taking a pass from Lucic, Horton put a close-range shot on goal that Luongo stopped with his glove. Horton followed his shot and poked home the rebound at 9:56 of the second. Tomas Kaberle recorded his first point as a Bruin by notching the secondary assist.
Horton’s goal gave the Bruins some jump. But Brad Marchand stalled any momentum when he took an unnecessary slashing penalty on Christian Ehrhoff. The Bruins killed Marchand’s penalty.
The Canucks opened the scoring at 16:58 of the first period. Tim Thomas got a piece of Manny Malhotra’s in-front bid. But with Thomas down and out, Malhotra scooped up the rebound of his shot and jammed the puck past the netminder.
On the following shift, Victor Oreskovich stapled Andrew Ference into the end boards. Both Adam McQuaid and Shawn Thornton challenged Oreskovich after the wallop. But Oreskovich declined both invitations.
Ference didn’t play after absorbing the hit and he was diagnosed with a game-ending lower-body injury. If Ference is unable to play tonight, Steven Kampfer would dress in his place against Edmonton. Kampfer was a healthy scratch last night for the second straight game.
It was the Bruins’ first game since Tuesday, when they scored a 3-1 win over Calgary at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Bruins had three days off in Vancouver. They had two practices at Pacific Coliseum and one off-ice session. The Bruins considered the three-day pause a valuable opportunity to introduce newcomers Kaberle, Rich Peverley, and Chris Kelly to the mix. They also welcomed back Shane Hnidy, who signed a one-year contract yesterday.
“Those few days off at this time of year is never a bad thing for a hockey club,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “I think we took advantage of it with some new faces and guys getting a chance to spend some time together. I think it’s going to be a positive thing for us.’’
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.