Canucks up win streak to 7 after dominating Bruins
Known for his fiery demeanor during previous NHL stops, John Tortorella’s anger has been on simmer since he took over as coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
It finally boiled over Saturday night and helped spur his team to victory.
Tortorella lit into the Canucks with an emotional tirade during a second-period timeout after they gave up the lead and Vancouver responded by blowing out the Boston Bruins for a 6-2 victory that extended their winning streak to seven games.
"That was 10 out of 10," said Canucks forward David Booth, who restored Vancouver’s lead just 1:20 later. "He was fired up there and it got the guys going. … That was a turning point for us and changed the outcome of the game."
Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist and Roberto Luongo made 39 saves as Vancouver won its seventh straight to finish a five-game homestand with a perfect record.
"We weren’t playing well," said Tortorella, before adding it was "none of your business" when asked what he said during the timeout.
Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins, Yannik Weber and Christopher Tanev had the other goals for Vancouver, which is 8-1-1 in its last 10.
Daniel Sedin, Mike Santorelli and Brad Richardson added two assists each as the Canucks thumped the Bruins in their first visit to Rogers Arena since Boston’s victory in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final.
Reilly Smith had both goals for the Bruins, who lost their four-game winning streak.
A shaky Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 23 shots for Boston, which has been hit hard by injuries and had a flu bug go through its locker room this week. Chad Johnson replaced Rask after the Canucks’ fourth goal, making four stops in relief.
"I’m not going to make any excuses. I was pretty bad today," Rask said. "I thought we played a good game as a team. I wasn’t able to help too much."
The turning point came at 4:11 of the second period when Tortorella called his timeout after Smith tied the score 1-1.
The Bruins were all over the Canucks before the goal and Tortorella unleashed a verbal barrage reminiscent of his coaching stints with the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers.
Whatever he said worked.
Booth restored the Canucks’ lead shortly after with his fourth goal of the season, firing a shot from the left wing that went through Rask to send the usually subdued Rogers Arena crowd into a frenzy.
"I think you see how passionate he gets," Canucks forward Ryan Kesler said of Tortorella. "You see how not pleased he was with our play and I think that passion bleeds into this team. It was a wake-up call and guys respect him."
The Canucks’ second line of Higgins, Santorelli and Kesler has been a force during Vancouver’s current winning streak and went back to work to stretch the lead to 3-1 at 8:46.
Santorelli made a strong move to the net, forcing Rask to make two big saves. His third shot went off the post and fell right to Higgins, who fired into a yawning cage for his 10th of the campaign.
"(Boston is) one of the best teams in the East, and I consider us one of the best teams in the West. Both teams played hard," Tortorella said. "Those are the type of games you want to be in."
Luongo made a big blocker save early in the third on a deflection by Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron before Weber put the game out of reach and ended Rask’s night when he blasted a one-timer past for his first of the season at 1:34.
Vancouver’s special teams then took over with Henrik Sedin scoring on the power play for his ninth at 4:02. Tanev then added his third, a short-handed effort, at 10:34 to make it 6-1.
Smith rounded out the scoring with 3:17 left, banging a rebound past Luongo.
"They had quite a push at the start of the second, they tied it up, Torts calls a timeout and we respond right away," Luongo said. "It shows a lot of character from our guys."
NOTES: The Bruins got word earlier in the day that tough guy Shawn Thornton had been suspended 15 games for his attack on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. … Smith has nine goals on the season. … Higgins has three goals and five assists in his last seven games and has points in five straight contests. … The Canucks defeated the Bruins 4-3 in Boston on Jan. 7, 2012, in the only other meeting between the teams since their final. … Boston hosts Vancouver on Feb. 4. … The Canucks open a three-game road trip on Tuesday in Minnesota against the Wild. … Boston is home to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.