BOSTON – Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault understands what the reeling Bruins are going through as they desperately search for a win.
“We went through the exact same thing last year where we outplayed the opposition a number of times but couldn’t get the win,” Vigneault said after his team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to extend the Bruins’ winless streak to 10 games, 3-2 in a shootout Saturday.
The Canucks, in the midst of the longest road trip in NHL history, a 14-game journey caused by the Olympics, won the first game of the trip, then fell, 3-2, in Montreal and 3-1 in Ottawa before coming back Saturday.
“I think we did to Boston what Montreal did to us,” Vigneault said. “We went into Montreal and outplayed them badly and lost that game, 3-2, because of a great goaltending performance. Tonight, we came in here in Boston and they outplayed us badly and they met a goaltender (Roberto Luongo) that was on top of his game and permitted us to come back in the game and squeeze out a shootout win. Sometimes, those things can happen.”
They keep happening to the Bruins, who outshot the four opponents on a just-completed homestand, 165-111, and scored just seven goals. They lost three of the four by the same 3-2 shootout final and led in all four, two by two goals.
“You’re speechless like I am,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said when the media were slow to ask the first question in his post-game news conference.
The Bruins haven’t won at home since the Jan. 1 Winter Classic win at Fenway Park and haven’t won at TD Garden since Dec. 30.
Pavol Demitra tied the game on a tip-in with 4:42 left and scored the only goal of the shootout.
Luongo stopped all three Bruins’ shootout shots, while Demitra beat rookie Tuukka Rask with Vancouver’s first attempt as Rask extended his losing streak to six games (0-4-2), dating to Dec. 30.
“Two-and-two and 1-3 are two totally different things,” Luongo said of the road trip. “We want to make sure we are better than .500 … on the road trip. Our road record is not where we want it to be (12-13-1) and we have to find ways to be better on the road like we were tonight.”
Boston outshot the Canucks, 7-1, during the overtime, with Luongo stopping Michael Ryder twice in the closing seconds.
Zdeno Chara and Ryder scored first-period power-play goals for Boston, while Mason Raymond scored in the second period for Vancouver.
The Bruins, who have scored either one or two goals in nine straight games, played their final home game until March 2, after the Olympic break.
Marc Savard had two assists for the Bruins, who have missed their last eight shootout attempts over three games.
Boston, already missing two defencemen with injuries, lost Johnny Boychuk in the first period after he was hit on the left side of his face by Mikael Samuelsson’s slap shot during a power play. Boychuk went down in a heap and was bleeding before being helped off the ice. The injury appeared to be near his eye.
Julien said after the game that Boychuk was at a local hospital being examined and would not accompany the team on the road. He said Andrew Ference was “a good possibility” to play Sunday in Montreal. Ference has missed the last 14 games with a groin injury but skated during Saturday’s warmup.
The Canucks, who had been shut out the last two times they played the Bruins (2006 and 2008) then had an 18-shot third period and it paid off when, after Milan Lucic overskated the puck, Demitra tipped home a Tanner Glass shot to tie the game.
“Bad luck, story of my season, nothing can go right,” Lucic said. “What can you do?”
Glass was off for boarding Derek Morris when the Bruins worked a perfect pass play from Savard to Marco Sturm to Chara for the game’s first goal, his first in 11 games.
Rick Rypien was off for interference when the Boston power play struck again, with Ryder tipping home Savard’s wrist shot for his 13th goal of the season, his first in seven games.
Sturm had a chance to make it 3-0 but shot wide on a shorthanded breakaway, and the Canucks then got on the board when Ryan Kesler set up Raymond in front.
NOTES: The Bruins will be on the road for the last four games before the Olympic break, while Vancouver also finishes with four on the road, as well as the next six after the break. … The East Coast snowstorm caused a change in officials, with Chris Rooney replacing Paul Dvorski.