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Bruins visit Vancouver for first time since 2011 Finals
(SportsNetwork.com) - Though the stakes won't be as high as their last trip to Vancouver, the Boston Bruins can still pick up a season-high fifth straight victory on Saturday night when they visit the Canucks for the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
The Bruins have not played a game at Rogers Arena since a 4-0 victory on June 15, 2011 in Game 7 that gave Boston its first championship since 1972.
Boston did host Vancouver in the regular season on Jan. 7, 2012, losing a 4-3 decision, and the clubs did not meet last campaign due to the lockout- influenced schedule.
The Bruins, who have won seven of their last 10 regular-season trips to Vancouver, have won a season-high four in a row overall for the third time this season and are looking to conclude a four-game road trip perfect. They kept their win streak intact by picking up a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Jarome Iginla scored twice, Dennis Seidenberg posted a goal and an assist and Brad Marchand also tallied to help Boston improve to 14-3-1 over its last 18 games and take a five-point lead over Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Chad Johnson made 39 saves in the win. No. 1 netminder Tuukka Rask did not start due to the flu, but did dress as the backup.
"I didn't like the goals we gave up for what we expect of our team. They were sloppy," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.
The Bruins have limped through this road trip, missing Loui Eriksson (concussion), Daniel Paille (upper body), Dougie Hamilton (lower body), Chris Kelly (broken ankle) and Adam McQuaid (lower body) due to injury. Shawn Thornton also remains out as he awaits the official length of his suspension for his actions versus Pittsburgh last Saturday when he grabbed Brooks Orpik of the Penguins from behind during a scrum and began punching him.
Rask appears over his bout with the flu and should start tonight. It would mark just his second career start versus the Canucks and first since he stopped 29-of-31 shots faced in a shootout loss in Boston on Feb. 6, 2010.
He served as the backup to Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas in the 2011 Finals.
Roberto Luongo will get a chance to avenge that Game 7 loss, when he stopped 17-of-20 shots faced. Though he shut the Bruins out twice during the Finals, he yielded 20 goals total in the other five games.
"It's just a fun game to play," Luongo said of facing the Bruins after Friday night's win over Edmonton. "It's been a few years now and I think we have all moved on. That being said there is a history there and those are the type of games you want to be playing in."
In the regular season, Luongo is 11-10-0 with three ties, four shutouts and a 2.40 goals against average versus the Bruins.
While the Canucks won't have the advantage of rest over the Bruins, they are coming off a 4-0 victory against the Oilers. Luongo made 17 saves for his 65th career shutout.
"I felt pretty good. I wasn't getting much action, so not the type of game I love to play," said Luongo, who is tied for the league lead with three shutouts this season. "But I was seeing the puck well in warmups and sometimes you just have that feeling when you know you're seeing the puck well. I had that tonight and obviously the guys did a great job in front of me."
Zack Kassian, Chris Higgins, Daniel Sedin and Dale Weise scored a goal apiece for the Canucks, who have won a season-high six straight games and are looking to wrap a five-game homestand perfect tonight.
Jason Garrison had three assists to set a career high and Ryan Kesler added two helpers in the win.
The Canucks' past two wins have come via a shutout. Backup Eddie Lack stopped all 31 shots he faced in Monday's 2-0 win over Carolina.
12/14 10:23:38 ET