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Canucks game day: Looking to snap four-game losing skid with Bruins in town for early start

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Photo credit:© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
First place in the overall National Hockey League standings is on the line this afternoon at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks (37-16-6) and Boston Bruins (34-12-12) are tied at the top with 80 points apiece. They are both one point ahead of the New York Rangers and two in front of the Florida Panthers.
The Canucks are out to snap a four-game losing streak that started last Saturday at home against Winnipeg. Since then, they went winless on a three game road trip through Minnesota, Colorado, and Seattle.
On Thursday night, they fell 5-2 to the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. As they have in all four games on the skid, the Canucks opened the scoring and were tied or leading at some point in the second period. The Canucks have been outscored 12-2 in third periods over the past four games, with both goals for coming in Monday’s crazy 10-7 loss to the Wild.
JT Miller has scored in three straight games and has eight goals in 10 games since the All Star break. Sam Lafferty scored the Canucks other goal in the Emerald City. 
With no morning skate due to the 4pm face-off, the Canucks line-up for tonight’s contest won’t be revealed until closer to game time. Thatcher Demko is expected to start for the ninth time in the past 11 games. He has dropped three straight decisions for the first time all season.
The Canucks power play is the biggest talking point around this team right now. It went 0 for four with just four shots on goal in Seattle and is now 1 for its last 28 dating back to a 4-0 loss to the Bruins in Boston on February 8th. Boston opened the scoring that night with a pair of short-handed goals and the Canucks power play hasn’t been the same since.
Neither Brock Boeser , who turns 27 tomorrow), nor Elias Pettersson has scored a power play goal since a January 27th home ice win over Columbus. Boeser has just one goal since the All Star break while Pettersson has two. Elias Lindholm has gone four games without a goal and his two goals against Detroit on February 15th are his only goals in the past nine games.
Rookie Arshdeep Bains who made his NHL debut in Denver on Tuesday and also played in Seattle is expected to suit up for his first game on home ice tonight. The Surrey, BC native has averaged 13:09 of ice time and has registered three shots on goal through his first two big league games.
The Bruins arrive in town after going to overtime in both games in Alberta to start their Western road trip. They beat Edmonton 6-5 on Wednesday, but fell 3-2 in Calgary the following night. Boston has been to overtime in four straight and five of its last six games. Since the All Star break the Bruins are 3-3-3 with the win against the Canucks their lone regulation victory over that span.
The Bruins have just five outright losses in 28 road games (16-5-7). They have picked up points in seven of their last eight away from home and have beyond regulation time in seven of those eight. Boston has not lost in regulation as the visitor since before Christmas. They are 7-0-4 in their last 11 away from home.
Only the New York Islanders (21) have been to overtime more than Boston (20) this season. And only the Islanders have left more points on the table. The Bruins are 5-10 in games decided in OT and 3-2 in games requiring a shootout. 
Charlie Coyle had both Boston goals against the Flames on Thursday reaching the 20-goal mark with his second on the night. He’s now one off his career-high set with Minnesota in 2015-16.
He is third on the team in goal-scoring behind David Pastrnak who has 36 and Brad Marchand who has 26. Pastrnak is tied for third in the league in goals behind Auston Matthews and Sam Reinhart. He is fourth in league scoring with 82 points on the season. The 27-year-old Czech also leads the NHL with 288 shots so far this season. His next point will be the 700th of his NHL career.
The Bruins are without defenceman Hampus Lindholm while fellow blueliner Matt Grzelcyk is day to day and missed Wednesday’s game after getting hurt in Edmonton.
Jeremy Swayman picked up the win in goal in Edmonton while Linus Ullmark took the loss in Calgary. However, Ullmark blanked the Canucks in Boston, and the last time he was at Rogers Arena last season, he scored into an empty net.
The Canucks are starting a three-game homestand tonight and will face Pittsburgh on Tuesday and get their first look of the season at the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. The Canucks will play 15 of their final 23 games on home ice including a nine-game homestand next month.
Tonight’s referees: Frederick L’Ecuyer and Graham Skilliter

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