VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – 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.”
Kings 5, Senators 2
In Ottawa, Anze Kopitar scored twice to lead Los Angeles to its sixth straight victory.
Jeff Carter, Dwight King and Jarret Stoll also scored to help the Kings improve to 22-7-4. Rookie Martin Jones extended his winning streak to five games, stopping 37 shots.
Joe Corvo and Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson was pulled after allowing two goals on four shots in 4:18. Robin Lehner finished the game, allowing three goals on 22 shots.
Penguins 4, Red Wings 1
In Detroit, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists before hurting his left leg early in the third period of Pittsburgh’s win over the Red Wings.
NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby also scored two goals to help the Penguins win.
Malkin got tangled up with Detroit’s Luke Glendening, lost his balance and his left skate took the brunt of collision with the boards behind Pittsburgh’s net. The Russian forward slowly got up and kept his left skate in the air as he was helped off the ice. He was called for holding on the play, but couldn’t serve the penalty because he was being evaluated.
Maple Leafs 7, Blackhawks 3
In Toronto, Joffrey Lupul and Peter Holland each scored twice to help the Maple Leafs end a three-game losing streak with a win over Chicago.
Mason Raymond added four assists for the Leafs.
Tied 1-1 after the first period, Toronto outscored Chicago 4-1 in the second to pull ahead for its first win in regulation time since Nov. 19, a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
Canadiens 1, Islanders 0 (OT)
In Uniondale, New York, Max Pacioretty scored 1:51 into overtime and Carey Price made 21 saves for his 21st NHL shutout.
Pacioretty took a short feed in front from David Desharnais and shoved a shot past Evgeni Nabokov for his 12th goal. Nabokov stopped 24 shots and was the hard-luck loser as he came back from injury.
It was Price’s second shutout this season for the Canadiens, who snapped a two-game skid and improved to 10-2-1 in their last 13. They have scored only two goals in the past three games.
Devils 3, Lightning 0
In Newark, New Jersey, Dainius Zubrus scored two goals in the third period and Martin Brodeur made 33 saves.
Brodeur earned his third shutout of the season and 124th of his career.
Jaromir Jagr assisted on both goals to raise his assist total to 1,024.
Damien Brunner’s seventh goal had broken the scoreless tie in the second period.
Jagr skated behind the net and passed to Zubrus on doorstep of the crease for the goal at 6:44 of the period.
Stars 6, Jets 4
In Winnipeg, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn each scored two goals and Sergei Gonchar had four assists.
The victory halted a two-game losing skid for the Stars, who only have four wins in their past 10 games.
Dallas rookie Valeri Nichushkin also scored a goal and center Colton Sceviour scored his first NHL goal.
Kari Lehtonen, playing his 200th game for the Stars and 404th career NHL game, stopped 34 of the 38 shots he faced.
Wild 2, Avalanche 1 (SO)
In Denver, Mikko Koivu scored the winner in the shootout and Josh Harding made two glove saves, helping Minnesota rally for a win over Colorado.
Koivu beat Semyon Varlamov with a shot just under the crossbar. Zach Parise also scored for the Wild in the shootout.
Matt Duchene had a shootout goal for the Avs, but Harding then stopped P.A. Parenteau and Ryan O’Reilly to preserve the win.
Hurricanes 3, Coyotes 1
In Glendale, Arizona, Eric Staal had a goal and two assists, Justin Peters stopped 37 shots, and Carolina ended a four-game road trip with a win over Phoenix.
The Hurricanes came into the game having pulled out a point in the previous two games of their trip and fell behind 1-0 after one period against the Coyotes.
Predators 3, Sharks 2
In Nashville, Carter Hutton made 36 saves to lead the Predators over San Jose.
Eric Nystrom, Roman Josi, and Viktor Stalberg scored for Nashville, which has won three straight.
Flames 2, Sabres 1 (OT)
In Buffalo, Paul Byron and Matt Stajan scored and Calgary started a five-game road trip with an overtime win over the Sabres.
Karri Ramo made 26 saves for the Flames, who have won their past three road games.
Blues 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
In Columbus, David Backes scored 22 seconds into overtime on a breakaway and St. Louis rallied from a two-goal deficit.