On January 7, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins lost for the first time in the new year in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The game was contentious from start to finish with more than 100 combined penalty minutes handed out including two ejections. While Boston outplayed Vancouver at even strength, the Canucks took advantage of ten power plays with each of their four goals coming on one- and two-man advantages.
Tim Thomas was on his game early as Vancouver's top line took the fight to the Bruins' zone. It took less than four minutes for hostilities to boil over. Six Canucks piled on Shawn Thornton at their own bench and the ensuing lengthy scrum ended with Milan Lucic ejected and a two-man advantage for Vancouver. The Canucks put the first seven shots on goal and eventually scored on the five-on-three; Ryan Kesler netted his 11th of the year in the closing seconds of the power play at the 5:41 mark. The Bruins failed to capitalize on a pair of power plays, but they evened the score at 14:57 on a transition goal by Brad Marchand; Tyler Seguin set up to Marchand at the crease who tied Seguin for the team lead in goals with number 16.
The Bruins dominated five-on-five in the second period, but Vancouver took advantage of a ton of special teams play to take back the lead. In the first half-minute, Daniel Paille worked a breakaway and earned a penalty shot that was saved by Cory Schneider. Rich Peverley gave the Bruins the lead at 7:12 with his seventh goal of the year on another score in transition. The Canucks retied the game on a power play goal by Alexandre Burrows at 15:21. In the closing minutes of the period, Brad Marchand was handed a game misconduct for a clipping penalty that completely changed the complexion of the game. Vancouver took a 3-2 lead on a Henrik Sedin goal in the midst of the five-minute major power play at 19:47.
With the five-minute major carrying into the third period, Vancouver took a two-goal lead on Cody Hodgson's tenth of the season. David Krejci got one back 42 seconds later at 1:51 with his tenth, extending his point streak to eight straight games. Boston carried the play all period and put 19 shots on goal, but Schneider withstood most of the barrage and eked out the win for Vancouver.
The Bruins next play on Tuesday, January 10 against the Winnipeg Jets. On December 6, Winnipeg became the first team to beat the Bruins in regulation in more than a month with a 2-1 win.
Vancouver at Boston, Saturday, January 7, 2012, NHL -- Yahoo! Sports
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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