Heading into Saturday afternoon's game between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, the B's had an impressive 4th ranked penalty kill unit. They stopped 87.7% of the power plays they were up against, and yet today's efforts seemed to be lacking.
Or perhaps it was just that the Bruins allowed the best power play unit in the league 11 opportunities.
Each of the four Canucks goals came on the power play, while they were unable to convert on the six Vancouver offered them.
Chris Kelly mentioned after the game that the message after the first period--when they were tied 1-1-- was to maintain composure and cut down on penalties. However, the penalty kill seemed to be out there more often than not, keeping the 5-on-5 play to a minimum.
Not only were they shorthanded with penalties, but they lost two of their leading scorers to game misconducts. The first was to Milan Lucic, who left after both teams engaged in a rough and tough scrum started by Shawn Thornton. All five of the Canucks on the ice bombarded him, and Lucic, went over to help. However, as the refs saw it, he performed an illegal change, and he was smacked with a roughing penalty and the game misconduct for leaving his bench.
It wasn't until after the game that the league determined it was indeed a legal change, and the game misconduct (and the threat of a ten game suspension) were rescinded.
"I’m not blaming [the referees] – they’re in the middle of a scrum there – but Looch was on the ice already," head coach Claude Julien said. "It wasn’t an illegal change; he didn’t come off the bench. There are no issues there in my mind; it’s clear. What’s unfortunate is that we lost a pretty good player early in the game, and that’s what is more disappointing. A guy looking forward to playing this game, he’s from Vancouver, and he gets tossed out, but he actually didn’t do anything wrong. We’ll let the league, again, take care of that stuff because there’s nothing more we can do."
The Canucks ended up with a two-man advantage after all was said and done, and Ryan Kesler scored with just 13 seconds left on the power play.
Between the two teams, there were 107 penalty minutes racked up and 17 different penalties dished out.
"We had some pretty big obstacles to overcome, and some of it was losing two real good players out of your lineup and having a short bench," Julien said. "That didn’t help, but having said that, had we stayed out of the box, and not given them the power plays that we gave them, I really felt, five-on-five, we controlled the play. That’s where our strength is, and unfortunately, when you give up four power play goals in a game, you’ve got to look at yourself and take the blame, and it’s as simple as that."
The B's came back and tied it in the first period, thanks to Brad Marchand, who took a feed from Seguin with less than five minutes to go in the period.
In the second period, they took the lead when Rich Peverley converted a turnover into a goal, wristing it from the left circle and past the surprised Cory Schneider to give them a 2-1 lead. That lead dwindled quickly as the penalties mounted on the Bruins.
Tyler Seguin took a tripping penalty and Alexandre Burrows took advantage immediately, putting one through with 4:39 to go in the second frame. The bleeding didn't stop there, and with 1:13 to go, Brad Marchand was called for clipping and received a five-minute major and a game misconduct as well. Henrik Sedin saw his opportunity to get back at Marchand for last year's punch to the face and put the Canucks up 3-2.
The ghost of Marchand's penalty wasn't confined to just the second period either. At the start of the third, the Canucks scored again off the same penalty as Cody Hodgson netted the go-ahead goal 1:09 into the third to seal the deal. David Krejci scored later in the period, but it wasn't enough to clinch two points.
"They moved the puck well, obviously that last goal was just a shock I think our defensemen tipped it so it was tough for Timmy [Thomas]," forward Daniel Paille said. "You know the other goals, they moved the puck really well, we forgot some guys back down and they just happened to get those chances. So I think we look at this game, it was a good test for us but too bad we came out short today. But we got another game so we are looking forward to that."