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The Boston Bruins blew a two-goal lead for the third time in four games as they fell to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in a shootout to extend their losing streak to ten games. The Bruins are now only one more loss away from tying the franchise record for consecutive losses set during the 1924-1925 season.
Captain Zdeno Chara opened the scoring just 1:56 into the game, when he dropped to the crease on the power play to put away a pass from Marc Savard. Following a fight between Shawn Thornton and Darcy Hordichuk and a particular scary moment when Johnny Boychuk stopped a Mikael Samuelsson slapshot with the left-side of his face, Michael Ryder deflected Savard’s wrist-shot from the blue line to put the Bruins up 2-0 and very much in control with less than six minutes to go before the first intermission.
Early in the second, the Bruins nearly went up by three, but Henrik Sedin took a smart slashing penalty by breaking Chara’s stick in front of the net. The Bruins failed to capitalize on the ensuing power play, but came close to cashing in again when they were forced to kill Ryder’s tripping penalty. Canucks goaltender Robert Luongo stuffed Derek Morris on a breakaway, while German Olympian Marco Sturm misfired left on his own breakaway.
The Canucks cut their deficit to one on just their tenth shot when Mason Raymond put the puck past Tuukka Rask halfway through the second period. After two, the Bruins had more than doubled the Canucks number of shots, taking 25 to Vancouver’s 12.
Play opened up in the third period, as opportunities abounded at both ends of the ice as the teams combined for 29 shots (18-11 in Vancouver’s favor), but superb goaltending by both starters kept the score 2-1 until less than five minutes remained. Sami Salo’s broken-stick slapshot turned into a pass to Tanner Glass, whose slapshot was tipped past Rask by Pavol Demitra.
In the extra session, despite holding a 7-1 shot advantage, the Bruins still couldn’t put a third puck past Luongo. The inability of both teams to score sent the game to a shootout, the second time in as many games for the Bruins.
After Patrice Bergeron, Kyle Wellwood, and David Krejci all had their attempts stopped, Demitra struck again, neatly scoring with a backhand on Rask’s glove side. Blake Wheeler was unable to extend the game any further, preventing the Bruins from winning their first game at the TD Garden since the new year began.
With the point gained from the shootout loss, the Bruins (23-22-11) moved up to ninth place in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final playoff spot. They next play tomorrow in Québec against their division rivals, the Montréal Canadiens; the game marks the beginning of a four-game road trip that ends with the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games.