VANCOUVER — Brad Marchand relishes being the villain, especially in the city where he hoisted the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins forward scored a hat trick in the third period, including the winner with under eight minutes left, as Boston beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 on Monday.
After tying the game on the power play 58 seconds into the third, Marchand stole the puck from Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin along the boards, stepped past Daniel Sedin and then deked through the legs of Alexander Edler before beating Canucks goalie Ryan Miller.
Loathed by Vancouver fans since the 2011 final that the Bruins took in Game 7 at Rogers Arena, Marchand was booed every time he touched the puck — jeers that only added to his motivation.
"That’s kind of when I get into it more and not a good idea for them," said Marchand, who added an assist for a four-point night. "Lots of great memories in this building so it is fun just to come in here and reminisce.
"When you have a night like that it just adds to those memories."
Coming off a 37-goal campaign in 2015-16, Marchand now has 35 this season, tied with Sidney Crosby for tops in the NHL. Marchand is also tied with Crosby for second in the overall points race with 74, one back of Connor McDavid.
"This is a leader of our hockey team that knows the urgency of where we are in the season," said Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. "He’s pulled some guys along."
David Backes, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci had the other goals for Boston (37-26-6), which got 26 saves from Tuukka Rask. Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each added two assists.
The Bruins, who are 11-3-0 since Cassidy took over for the fired Claude Julien on Feb. 7, sit four points up on Toronto for third in the Atlantic Division.
"We’re obviously in a tight playoff race and we need every single point," said Marchand. "It was great that the team rallied and had a big third."
Markus Granlund, with two, and Edler scored for Vancouver (28-32-9), while Henrik and Daniel Sedin each picked up two assists. Ryan Miller made 37 saves in his 700th career NHL game.
"We didn’t battle and weren’t good enough defensively," said Granlund. "That’s how you lose."
The fading Canucks are now 12 points back of St. Louis Blues for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
"It was my mistake on the fourth (goal), which cost us the game," said Henrik Sedin. "They played well the whole game. I don’t think we played well enough."
Vancouver led 3-2 after 40 minutes, but Boston came out flying after the second intermission and tied it early the third on the power play when Pastrnak threw the puck in front to Marchand, who fired his 33rd past a down-and-out Miller.
Granlund, who scored his goals in the first, had a good chance at a hat trick later in the period, but Rask made a pad stop to keep things tied before Marchand struck again with his solo effort with 7:57 left on the clock.
"He is determined and wants to get better with every area of his game," said Cassidy. "He’s worked hard on his game. He deserves to be rewarded."
Krejci put it out of reach with his 19th on a slick pass from Pastrnak at 16:46 before Marchand completed the hat trick with 25.5 seconds left on the clock into an empty net.
"It’s disappointing … really disappointing," said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins. "We took a penalty at the end of the second and that hurt us going into the third. But saying that, we were still in a good enough position. We just didn’t finish that game."
Down 2-1 after the first, the Bruins tied it at 13:58 of the second when Chara’s point shot leaked through Miller with Jimmy Hayes lurking in front for his seventh.
Vancouver had a couple of opportunities before the equalizer, with both Jason Megna and Sven Baertschi forcing saves out of Rask, but the Boston goalie will feel he should have done better on Edler’s go-ahead goal just 21 seconds later.
The Canucks defenceman saw his slapshot off the rush blocked by Tory Krug, but he stayed with the play and fired an effort from a tight angle that bounced off Rask’s pad and into the top of the net.
Boston opened the scoring at 6:48 of the first when Bergeron followed up on his initial shot to feed the puck in front to Backes, who saw it go in off his skate.
Miller, who was stellar in making 45 saves in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Penguins, made a nice stop on Bergeron in the slot on a Boston power play later in the period before robbing Marchand on the rebound.
After missing the Pittsburgh game with food poisoning, Granlund returned to the lineup alongside the Sedins and got his first of the night at 15:47. With Henrik Sedin driving to the net, Daniel Sedin fed Granlund in the slot and he beat a screened Rask stickside.
Granlund got his second just 1:18 later after finishing a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play by sweeping a shot past a helpless Rask.
"We were lucky to be in it after the first," said Henrik Sedin. "It was a tight game, but still we didn’t play our best. We played too slow."