NHL Nick's Net

Miller and Horvat sink Bruins in shootout, 2-1

J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat had the only goals past regulation in a, 2-1, shootout victory for the Vancouver Canucks against the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

Thatcher Demko (10-11-1, 2.73 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 22 games played) made 35 saves on 36 shots faced in the shootout win for Vancouver.

Boston netminder, Jeremy Swayman (7-4-2, 2.15 goals-against average, .922 save percentage in 13 games played) stopped 31 out of 32 shots against in the shootout loss.

The Bruins fell to 12-8-2 (26 points) overall and remain in 5th place in the Atlantic Division, while the Canucks improved to 10-15-2 (22 points) and moved into 7th place in the Pacific Division– ahead of the Seattle Kraken by two points out of the division basement.

The B’s went 1-0-1 in their regular season series with Vancouver in 2021-22.

Anton Blidh (upper body) took part in morning skate for Boston in a regular practice jersey, but isn’t quite ready to resume in-game action just yet.

Blidh was joined by Jakub Zboril (lower body) and Tomáš Nosek (non-COVID related illness) among the Bruins that weren’t able to compete on Wednesday night due to injury or illness.

Zboril will be re-evaluated in two weeks, while Nosek did not travel with the team to Vancouver.

Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy was back in the lineup after missing one game due to a non-COVID related illness and Brad Marchand returned from his three-game suspension.

As a result, acting head coach, Joe Sacco, made a number of changes to his lines– reuniting Marchand with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak on the first line, while relegating Taylor Hall back to his normal spot on the second line left wing with Charlie Coyle at center and Craig Smith at right wing.

Trent Frederic centered the third line with Erik Haula to his left and Nick Foligno on his right side, while Curtis Lazar shifted over to the fourth line center role with Nosek out on Wednesday.

Jake DeBrusk flanked Lazar’s left side and Oskar Steen took on right wing duties on the fourth line after he was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Tuesday.

In addition to Steen, Boston recalled Jack Ahcan and John Moore, who joined Karson Kuhlman in the press box as healthy scratches for the B’s in Vancouver.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, remains in the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol and likely won’t be back before the Bruins return from their Western Canada road trip.

Midway through the opening frame, McAvoy was assessed a holding minor when he got tied up with Jason Dickinson at 12:30 of the first period.

The Canucks, however, were not able to score on the ensuing skater advantage.

Vancouver got another chance on the power play in the dying seconds of the first period as Foligno was given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 19:57.

The Bruins would be shorthanded for about 1:58 to kick things off in the middle frame as a result.

After one period of play at Rogers Arena, Boston and Vancouver were tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard and even in shots on goal, 8-8.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (8-5), giveaways (4-3) and hits (14-4), while the Canucks led in takeaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (54-46).

Only Vancouver had seen any action on the power play heading into the first intermission and the home team was 0/2 thus far.

Tyler Myers knocked Smith around without the puck and received an interference minor as a result– yielding Boston their first power play of the night at 8:14 of the second period.

The Bruins couldn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage however.

Boston thought they had scored the game’s first goal when Haula received a pass on a breakaway entering the attacking zone before deking and scoring on a backhand shot that was elevated over Demko’s outstretched right pad, but the call on the ice was overturned as a result of Canucks head coach, Bruce Boudreau, using a coach’s challenge.

Boudreau argued that the Bruins had, in fact, not scored because Haula was offside prior to bringing the puck into Vancouver’s own zone.

Video review confirmed that Haula had both skates over the plane along the blue line while the rubber biscuit was still in the neutral zone along the line– negating the would-be goal.

Instead of a, 1-0, lead for Boston, later in the period Marchand was assessed an interference minor for a light collision with Dickinson away from the play at 14:27.

Whether the penalty was justified or not, it came back to bite the Bruins as Miller flung a shot pass towards the slot whereby Brock Boeser (6) redirected the puck past Swayman for the game’s first official goal.

Miller (17) and Quinn Hughes (19) tallied the assists to give the Canucks a, 1-0, lead on Boeser’s power-play goal at 15:01 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action at Rogers Arena, Vancouver led, 1-0, on the scoreboard despite trailing Boston, 17-16, in shots on net– including a, 9-8, advantage for the Bruins in the second period alone.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (14-10), giveaways (5-4) and hits (20-12) entering the second intermission, while the Canucks maintained an advantage in takeaways (5-2) and faceoff win% (52-48).

Vancouver was 1/3 on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Juho Lammiko slashed Pastrnak to kick things off in the third period with a power play for the Bruins at 3:26.

Boston went on the two-skater advantage after Miller tripped up Swayman while passing through the crease at 4:42 of the second period– presenting the Bruins with 45 seconds of prime real estate in the attacking zone.

The B’s made quick work of the 5-on-3 advantage as they wrapped the puck around the zone prior to Pastrnak sending a shot pass in from the point to Bergeron (9) in the bumper for the redirection off of Demko’s left pad and under the bar.

Pastrnak (12) and Coyle (7) notched the assists on Bergeron’s power-play goal and the Bruins tied the game, 1-1, at 4:51 of the third period.

Moments later, Boston had another chance on the power play when Tanner Pearson sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play for an automatic minor at 7:22, but the B’s weren’t able to put the go-ahead goal on the board– especially not after Bergeron cut down Dickinson with a trip in the neutral zone while trying to steal the puck at 7:36, yielding a span of 1:46 at 4-on-4.

Vancouver didn’t convert on their abbreviated power play upon Pearson’s re-emergence from the box.

At the horn, the two teams required overtime to settle a, 1-1, score.

Boston led in shots on goal, 33-29, including a, 16-13, advantage in the third period alone, while also maintaining an advantage in blocked shots (19-15) and hits (27-19).

Meanwhile, the Canucks amassed a lead in takeaways (7-3), and giveaways (10-5) as both teams split faceoff win%, 50-50, entering the extra frame.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, both teams finished the night 1/4 on the power play.

Sacco sent out Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy to begin the 3-on-3 overtime action, while Boudreau countered with Horvat, Dickinson and Myers.

Despite swapping chances and a few great saves by each goaltender, neither team could top the other in overtime, yielding a shootout and finalizing the stat lines at a, 36-32, total shots advantage for Boston (each team had three shots on goal in overtime alone).

The Bruins also wrapped up Wednesday night’s action before the shootout leading in blocked shots (19-15), hits (28-20) and faceoff win% (52-48).

Vancouver, meanwhile, finished the night leading in giveaways, 11-6, after 65 minutes wasn’t enough.

Boudreau sent out Elias Pettersson with the first shot attempt in the first round of the shootout, but Swayman poke checked the puck away as Pettersson tried a serpentine route towards the net.

Next, Pastrnak drew close to the net from a wide approach before sending a shot off of Demko’s glove and wide of the goal frame.

In the second round of the shootout, Miller started things with a wide skate towards the slot before cutting in and wrapping the puck around Swayman as Miller sold a fake and the Bruins netminder bought it.

Miller put the Canucks up, 1-0, in the shootout with Coyle designated as Boston’s second shooter.

Coyle came right at Demko and fired a shot off of the Canucks goaltenders’ blocker– low on the short side.

All Horvat had to do was score and the game would be over before the Bruins even had a third attempt.

Horvat curled towards the slot and beat Swayman high on the glove side with a clean shot– giving Vancouver the, 2-0, advantage in the shootout and a, 2-1, win on the final scoreboard as a result.

The Canucks improved to 2-1 in shootouts this season, while the Bruins fell to 1-1 in the shootout in 2021-22.

Boston also fell to 1-5-1 (0-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, 4-4-2 (1-2-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal and 2-5-2 (0-3-1 on the road0 when trailing after two periods this season.

Vancouver, meanwhile, improved to 6-7-0 (3-3-0 at home) when tied after one period, 6-4-0 (3-0-0 at home) when scoring first and 8-1-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins continue their road trip (0-0-1) through Western Canada with a matchup against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, followed by a visit to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Boston returns home to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 14th before another three-game road trip thereafter.