BOSTON (AP) — Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen scored short-handed in the first period, and the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Thursday night in a matchup of the NHL’s top two teams.
Linus Ullmark stopped 17 shots for his first shutout of the season. Morgan Geekie and Pavel Zacha also scored, and Charlie Coyle set up both short-handed goals as the Bruins bounced back from a 4-1 loss to Calgary at home Tuesday.
“In our minds it feels like we’ve been struggling in our PK,” Ullmark said. “We haven’t lived up to our standards. It was also something we talked about before the game. It’s time to really buy in and do the right things, and do them properly. That’s what they did.”
It was the eighth victory in 10 games for Boston, which tied Vancouver atop the league standings with 73 points.
Last season, Boston captured the Presidents’ Trophy with NHL records for points (135) and wins (65). But the Bruins were eliminated by Florida in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Our PK hasn’t been up to par with where we were this year,” Coyle said. “That’s something we want to get better at.”
Thatcher Demko made 21 saves for the Canucks, but his nine-game winning streak was snapped. Vancouver had won 10 of 12, with one loss coming in overtime and the other in a shootout.
“I thought I maybe (could) have helped the team out in some of their chances a little better,” Demko said. “I didn’t think it was a 4-0 game, necessarily. I think there’s some things we can pick out to build on.”
With teammate Jakub Lauko in the penalty box for holding on the game’s opening shift, Coyle stole a clearing pass along the boards and sent a shot at Demko. Marchand, positioned at the edge of the crease, scored off the rebound 32 seconds in for his 25th goal.
Late in the first period, Coyle flipped a pass to a breaking Heinen, who split a pair of Canucks players — speeding past Elias Pettersson — before firing a wrister past Demko’s stick.
“The guy was fast and he made a good play to score,” Pettersson.
In the second, Boston all but put it away with two goals in the opening 49 seconds.
On the first, David Pastrnak’s stick shattered on his one-timer from just inside the blue line, with the blade sailing like a boomerang over near the left circle. The puck went toward the net and, as he was falling to the ice, Geekie redirected it with his stick before Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers mishandled the rebound, knocking it into his own net.
“He’s a former baseball player. He takes a lot of pride in his baseball,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said of Geekie. “He’d rather had been a better baseball player than a hockey player. He’s just more talented in hockey. I think we saw his hand-eye coordination there.”
Zacha took a pass from James van Riemsdyk, cut in alone and fired a forehand past Demko’s stick just 15 seconds after Heinen’s goal.
It was a relatively easy night for Ullmark in his seventh career shutout even though Vancouver came in averaging an NHL-best 3.78 goals per game.
The teams meet again in Vancouver on Feb. 24.
Canucks: At Detroit on Saturday afternoon.
Bruins: Host Washington on Saturday afternoon.
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