Both the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins will seek to reverse losing trends when the two meet for the first time this season on Sunday night in Boston.
Vancouver has lost three straight and eight of its last nine games following a 4-2 defeat at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
Vasily Podkolzin had a goal in the final minute of period one to tie the game at 1-1 for Vancouver. Tyler Motte scored late in the second for the Canucks to re-tie it at 2-2 before Thatcher Demko (17 saves) allowed a pair of third-period goals.
"I feel bad for our group," Canucks coach Travis Green said via Sportsnet. "I give our group a lot of credit; they played a strong game and they're going to have to bounce back. It's tough to lose when you play well, especially when things are going the way they are."
A pair of goalies with Boston ties have manned the net this season for the Canucks.
The 25-year-old Demko starred at Boston College for three seasons and won the Mike Richter Award in 2016 as the most outstanding goalie in NCAA men's hockey. This season, Demko is 6-10-1 with a .904 save percentage and a 3.07 goals-against average.
Demko has started Vancouver's last five games, but hasn't won since a 4-2 victory at expansion club Seattle on Oct. 23.
Demko's backup this season has been 36-year-old veteran Jaroslav Halak, who spent three seasons with the Bruins from 2018-21 as the backup to former Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask.
Halak, who went 49-23-14 with Boston, is 0-3-1 with a .903 save percentage and a 2.79 goals-against average this season.
Boston is looking to build some positive momentum after dropping two of its last three games.
Like the Canucks, the Bruins were tied 2-2 after two periods on Friday before they surrendered three unanswered goals in a 5-2 home loss to the New York Rangers in their annual Black Friday matinee.
Boston's Craig Smith opened the scoring at 14:46 of the first period before Patrice Bergeron scored 6:51 into the second to give the hosts a 2-1 lead. Rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman (26 saves) then let up four straight goals.
"We didn't play winning hockey, for whatever reason," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "That's where we get away from our identity when we start having those breakdowns that are, to me, that are pretty straightforward."
Veteran Linus Ullmark will get the start in net for Boston against Vancouver. Ullmark was set to face his former Sabres team in Buffalo on Wednesday before being a late scratch with a minor injury.
Ullmark is 4-3-0 with a .908 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average on the season.
It is the first meeting between Boston and Vancouver since Feb. 22, 2020 and a rematch of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, which the Bruins won in seven games. The Bruins and Canucks complete their two-game season series on Dec. 8 in Vancouver.
--Field Level Media