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Boston Bruins blank Canucks 4-0 in matchup of NHL’s top 2 teams

Vancouver visits Detroit on Saturday afternoon
Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand, left, scores as Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, top right, is unable to block the shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen scored short-handed in the first period, and the Boston Bruins beat the visiting 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Zacha took a pass from James van Riemsdyk, cut in alone and fired a forehand past Demko’s stick just 15 seconds later.

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.


Ken Powtak, The Associated Press