BOSTON – The injury-depleted Vancouver Canucks rode the hot hands of forward Zack Kassian and goaltender Eddie Lack to another road win Tuesday.
Kassian scored 6:47 into the third period to give the Canucks the lead and Lack made 40 saves in his first start since Ryan Miller’s injury in Vancouver’s 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
The Canucks (35-22-3), playing without seven injured regulars, are 3-1-0 on their five-game road trip, which concludes Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres. Kassian has four goals in the past three games after scoring five in his first 32.
"There’s bounces going in. I don’t think it’s the best [play] of my career," Kassian said. "I think on the stat sheet you’re scoring goals, so it might seem like it. But there’s still definitely things I can improve on. But it’s definitely nice to get rewarded with some goals."
Kassian scored on a one-timer from the top of the right circle after Daniel Sedin’s pass deflected across the ice and off the right sideboards.
Lack, who made 27 saves to complete a shutout Miller started on Sunday against the New York Islanders, responded to his new role as Vancouver’s primary goaltender with a solid performance that included 20 saves in the second period.
"I mean it was a busy night," Lack said. "But it felt like we kept them a lot to the outside. So it was a good overall effort from everyone."
"It was real good. I always thought Eddie was good," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "He was so good the other night against the Islanders, he was unbelievable there, and he just followed up again tonight. He made some real big saves for us. It’s good to see. You like to see a guy getting hot."
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 26 saves playing in his 18th straight game. Forward Daniel Paille scored for Boston (29-22-9). The Bruins were trying to build off a 6-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
"Well as always, you just try to take the positives out of it, I guess, and learn from the bad stuff. But I don’t think there was too much bad stuff today," Rask said. "We played one of the better defensive games this year, I thought, as far as their quality chances go. We just couldn’t pounce on those loose pucks. There was a lot of loose pucks around the net today and we just, we were always second layer, couldn’t just capitalize. It’s a tough one."
Paille returned to the Bruins’ lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games and scored his first goal in 37 games 1:05 into the first period. Paille retrieved a rebound in front of Lack and sent a backhand shot past him from the slot to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
But the Bruins failed to solve Lack the rest of the game.
After a 1-2-2 road trip, the Bruins were hoping to take advantage of a stretch of five of their next six games at home. But their power play went 0-for-4 and Lack got the better of them time and again.
The Canucks answered Paille’s goal after a Jannik Hansen end-to-end rush later in the first period. Hansen set up defenseman Ryan Stanton for a one-timer from the top of left circle that got past Rask at 3:28 and tied the score 1-1.
Boston outshot Vancouver 20-10 in a scoreless second period. Paille had Boston’s best chance to score on Lack in the second, but his point-blank chance hit Lack through traffic and Stanton covered it up in the crease. The Bruins thought there should have been a penalty shot awarded for Stanton closing his hand on the puck, but they did not receive one.
"It was very vague," Paille said about the explanation. "[The referee] said that the helmet came off before he put his hand on the puck. The goalie’s helmet. I believe that’s what he said."
Lack’s strong second period set up Kassian’s third-period heroics that led to the Canucks’ sixth win in eight games despite their injury woes.
"Yeah, it’s huge. We have a lot of key guys out and I think that just shows how deep our team is and how well we play for each other and we want to win in here for each other," Kassian said of the Canucks’ success on their road trip. "So everyone’s stepped in and done a great job so far."