Brad Marchand scored the tying goal on a power play in the third period and set-up David Pastrnak’s go-ahead score, helping the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
Anton Blidh also scored for Boston, and Linus Ullmark made 36 saves. The Bruins won for the fifth time in seven games.
Tanner Pearson and Conor Garland scored for Vancouver. Former Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak made 39 saves and remains winless (0-4-1) in his first season with the Canucks. The 36-year-old Halak signed as a free agent with them after playing three seasons with Boston.
“He can help you win in a lot of ways,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said of Marchand, who also dished out some big hits that sparked the team. “We saw it offensively and we’ve seen it on the penalty kill here for years. The physical part was good.”
With Oliver Ekman-Larsson off for boarding Blidh, Marchand shifted around defenceman Kyle Burroughs and fed Pastrnak in front of the net, where he slipped in a power-play score with 3:24 to play.
“I knew (Pastrnak) was going to be around there,” Marchand said. “We’ve scored a few goals over the years with that play. He’s so good at finding that hole.”
Vancouver has lost four in a row and nine of 10.
“It’s definitely tough,” Pearson said. “This one bites, going into the third period with the lead. That’s one we need to have. … We liked the effort, but you’ve got to win in this league to move on. We’ve got to dig a little deeper.”
Marchand collected a loose puck out of a scramble and tied it at 2-all less than a minute after Ullmark dropped for a pad save on Tyler Motte’s clean breakaway.
Marchand got a rebound near the crease, skated slightly to his right and fired a wrist shot into the net for a power-play goal 8:45 into the third.
Garland’s seemingly harmless wrister from the right circle slipped between Ullmark’s pads, giving the Canucks a 2-1 edge with 7:29 left in the second.
“It’s really frustrating,” Garland said. “That’s what they do. That’s why they go deep into the playoffs. They wait for their chances. You hold them to nothing and all of a sudden the top line ends up with two.”
Looking to spark his team after a loss to the Rangers on Friday, Cassidy juggled all but his top line. The Bruins seemed to respond more aggressively at the beginning of the game, but the struggling Canucks played physical, too, which led to a few scrums after whistles in the opening period.
Midway into the second, Cassidy briefly dropped star Pastrnak from the top line to second line.
Pearson scored a power-play goal out of a scramble 3:33 into the game to make it 1-0.
But Blidh beat Halak with a wrist shot that appeared to dip late and sailed past the goalie’s glove, tying it just 2:18 later.
ANOTHER FAMILIAR FACE
It was the second time in three home games that the Bruins faced a goaltender they had on their team last season. Last Sunday, Dan Vladar started for Calgary and shut them out.
The Canucks had a power-play goal wiped out by video review late in the opening period. Garland beat Ullmark, who appeared screened, with a slap shot from the right point, but the Bruins challenged that Nils Hoglander was offside and a review showed that he was in early.
Boston’s Tomas Nosek had one immediately waved off in the opening minute of the second when he clearly kicked the puck into the net while falling to the ice.
Notes: Trent Frederic returned to Boston’s lineup after missing seven games with an undisclosed upper-body injury and centred the third line. Bruins forwards Jake DeBrusk and Erik Haula were healthy scratches. It was the first of two regular-season meetings between the teams, with the other in Vancouver on Dec. 8. Canucks captain Bo Horvat played his 265th straight game. Patriots WRs N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers watched from a luxury box.
Canucks: At Montreal on Monday night in their fourth of a five-game trip.
Bruins: Host Detroit on Tuesday, the finale of three straight at home.