Bruins dominate Canucks, Chara heads to Sochi

Bruins dominate Canucks, Chara heads to Sochi

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins will play their last two games before the Olympic break without defenseman Zdeno Chara.

The loss of their 6-foot-9 captain, who is leaving early to carry the flag for his native Slovakia in the opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia, may not make a difference the way the Bruins are currently playing.

"It's definitely a test," right winger Jarome Iginla said after his goal and assist helped the Bruins improve to 7-1-1 in their last nine games with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. "He's the best defenseman going and you play with him, and I know playing against him he's a force and he's one of those guys you look at and think 'tonight's going to be a tough night.'

"We're happy for him. We all wanted him to go and do that. It's a huge honor for him. We're happy and we'll try to hold the fort for the last couple (games before the Olympic break)."

The Bruins are now 22-6-2 at home, including 19-3-2 in their last 24.

"I wouldn't ever have made this decision without talking to the team, management, coaches, the players," said Chara, who set up the Iginla goal. "It would be pretty selfish if I made that decision on my own. This was basically made as a group and that was the only way I would accept it. I really appreciate it and it means a lot to me."

Left winger Milan Lucic, off Iginla's 600th career assist, also had a goal and an assist and goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped 27 shots for Boston.

Vancouver lost its fifth straight, the last two in two nights since coach John Tortorella returned from his 15-day league suspension. The Canucks have one goal in the two games.

"I'm not interested in moral victories and all that," said Tortorella. "We lose another game but as a coach I have to try to hang my hat on (that) I see some improvement within our club within a structure of a lot of different areas of our game."

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo was not sharp early, allowing three goals on the first 18 shots. He played well in the third period and finished with 29 saves.

Later, Luongo took the blame for the loss, saying, "I think this one's 100 percent on me."

Lucic, who has seven points in the last six games, and Iginla, with 11 points in the last six, both scored their 16th goals of the season. Left winger Daniel Paille also scored, his eighth, on a nifty breakaway pass from defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

Center David Krejci made the first pass on Lucic's opening goal and has 11 points in the last nine games.

Rask's biggest save of the night was probably the one he made on winger Daniel Sedin's short-handed breakaway in the first period. The Bruins took the rebound of the save and went down the ice and made it 2-0 when Chara set up Iginla for a re-direction from in front.

Vancouver defenseman Raphael Diaz, playing his first game with his new team after being acquired from Montreal on Monday, made it 2-1 with his first goal of the season at 11:28 of the second. Diaz fluttered a shot from the right point that Rask just missed with his glove.

Paille answered 5 1/2 minutes later.

NOTES: Canucks C Henrik Sedin and LW Daniel Sedin have both gone 17 games without a goal. ... Before the game, Bruins LW Brad Marchand, who caused a stir by kissing his invisible ring and holding an invisible Stanley Cup over his head during the Bruins' loss at Vancouver on Dec. 14, said, "I think there's definitely some hatred for that team. And they have it for us." But there was no real rough stuff. ... Marchand had a goal disallowed because D Torey Krug ran into G Roberto Luongo and hit a post. ... Vancouver scratched D Dan Hamhuis and LW Chris Higgins due to injuries suffered Monday night in Detroit. ... D Raphael Diaz, acquired from Montreal on Monday, scored in his first game with the Canucks. He was a healthy scratch his last eight games with the Canadiens.