The Boston Bruins (27-23-6) defeated the San Jose Sharks (33-18-4) 6-3 on a snowy Thursday night in Boston.
For the Bruins, this was Bruce Cassidy’s first game as interim head coach after Claude Julien’s firing on Tuesday morning, and captain Zdeno Chara sat this one out due to illness. For the Sharks, defenseman Brent Burns was riding a 14-road game point streak.
Prior to the game, Bruins President, Cam Neely, spoke with Felger and Mazz for the first time this year and made his disappointment in David Backes’ and David Krejci’s performance this season known.
52 seconds into the game, those two players showed that they might have heard those comments. Assisted by Torey Krug and Krejci, Backes scored his 12th goal of the season.
The Sharks bounced back about seven minutes later as Joe Thornton scored his first non-empty net goal of the season after he was gifted a bounce off of the boards. But the Bruins didn’t lose momentum.
Patrice Bergeron scored his 14th goal of the year from the top of the crease off a shot from Brandon Carlo and a bounce off of Backes at 15:52.
The Bruins weren’t done yet in the first period as the Sharks took a too many men penalty at 17:03. This allowed David Pastrnak to extend the Bruins’ powerplay goal streak to 6 games with his 23rd of the season. This would be the final goal Sharks goaltender Martin Jones would see as Aaron Dell took his place after the period.
The spark the Bruins played with in the first looked to have fizzled out at the start of the second period. Just 1:08 in, Sharks defenseman Justin Braun scored his third of the season with assists by Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau, and the Sharks showed they weren’t giving up, now only down by 1.
Both teams went back and forth with shots on goal in 5-on-5 play, but San Jose’s Paul Martin took a tripping penalty to send his team down a man.
Just minutes after their unsuccessful powerplay attempt, Bruins forward Tim Schaller scored his seventh goal of the season from Riley Nash and Dominic Moore and the “Timmy Heads” were out in full force.
The Sharks took another tripping penalty at 17:43, this time from centerman Chris Tierney, and the combination of Brad Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak took advantage. Pastrnak’s netted his second powerplay goal of the night, giving the Bruins a 5-2 lead into the third.
This score remained unchanged throughout the majority of the final 20 minutes until Sharks forward Timo Meier scored his third of the season from Joel Ward and Tomas Hertl. This coming just seconds after Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid exited the penalty box following his interference penalty.
This led to San Jose pulling Dell out of the net and attempting to score two goals to tie it up. While they maintained possession in the majority of the final two minutes, Brad Marchand’s empty net goal sealed the deal for the Bruins with 29.3 left to go.
Overall, this is the type of game the Bruins were expected to play following upper management’s decision to fire Claude Julien. They came out with sustainable momentum, and given their position in the standings, they’ll need more games like this if they want a chance at making the playoffs after two straight years of starting their offseason earlier than they expected.
As for the Sharks, they remain on top of the Pacific division despite the loss. But after a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres, the Anaheim Ducks are now only two points behind.
From here, the Bruins will play two more games this weekend against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens before taking 6 days off. The Sharks will wrap up their road trip this Saturday and Sunday against the Philidelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.