February 23, 2015

The Vancouver Canucks have fared relatively well despite allowing at least 40 shots in each of the first four stops on a six-game trip.

The Canucks know they've been fortunate, and must clamp down starting Thursday night against a Boston Bruins team that's been rejuvenated offensively amid three straight victories.

Vancouver (19-17-11) allowed an average of 30.1 shots and gave up 40 or more five times prior to this trip, during which it's yielded 44.3 while going 2-1-1. Two nights after giving up a season-high 48 in a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders, the Canucks allowed 49 shots in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers.

The 97 shots are the second-highest total in the league in a two-game span dating to 1989-90. Vancouver has allowed at least 40 shots in four straight games, its most since at least the start of that 1989-90 season.

"It's frustrating. It's tough," coach Willie Desjardins told the NHL's official website. "It takes a lot of energy when you're in your zone defending. It's not that our guys haven't battled. They have blocked shots, guys have worked hard.

"It's a matter of playing with confidence. It seems we are not confident when (we are) going to make a play and as a result we are hesitating a little bit."

The Canucks have yielded 10 goals on the trip and have killed off 15 of 16 penalties in the last seven games. However, they're averaging 1.8 non-shootout goals and 24.5 shots on the road swing.

"It's tiring for everyone," said forward Daniel Sedin, who hasn't scored in four games since tying Markus Naslund as Vancouver's all-time goals leader with 346.

"It's not going to work. We are going to have to try and fix it."

Ryan Miller is expected to be in net for a third straight start. Backup Jacob Markstrom struggled while facing 22 shots in a 4-0 loss to Boston (24-16-5) on Dec. 5, a contest in which the Canucks were held to 17 shots.

Boston averaged 2.2 goals in a 2-7-1 stretch from Dec. 22-Jan. 13 but has scored 11 times during the three-game winning streak that's followed.

"We've got to keep putting pressure, and we saw some good results out of it," center Patrice Bergeron told the Bruins' official website after scoring for the third time in two games in Tuesday's 4-1 victory at Montreal.

One game after recording their second-most shots of the season with 45 in a 3-2 win over Toronto, the Bruins needed just 24 for the win over the Canadiens.

Boston has posted a 6-0 goal advantage in the third period of the last three games after being outscored 4-0 in the third in losing the previous two. David Pastrnak returned from a three-game absence due to an upper-body injury to score one of the Bruins' two third-period goals Tuesday.

"These are points we need to get that we work hard to get, because everybody's so tight in the standings," veteran forward Max Talbot said. "So we're very, very happy with the two points. We'll enjoy it ... and think about next game."

Tuukka Rask, who recorded one of his four shutouts this season at Vancouver, has a 2.00 goals-against average in his last five starts.

Daniel Sedin does not have a goal in his last 10 regular-season games against the Bruins. He'll be without brother Henrik, who is out through the All-Star break with an upper-body injury suffered Sunday.

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