Your Boston Bruins hosted the San Jose Sharks for a rare Sunday matinee this afternoon at the TD Garden. Another day and another undefeated team falls by the wayside as the Bruins hang on for the 4-3 victory in front of a capacity crowd (and my daughter’s BFF Harley enjoying her 1st game).
The B’s started Linus Ullmark in net and welcomed Connor Clifton back into the lineup in place of John Moore. Up front The Erection Line remained…. rigid as the other line combos were juggled to make up for some missing pieces. Tomas Nosek was the #2 center with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall as his wingers and Erik Haula centered Jake DeBrusk and Oskar Steen (who made his season debut). The 4th line saw the return of Jack Studnicka at the pivot with Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman on the wings. Nice luxury for the Bruins to have the Wanna-Bees right down the road in Providence with Craig Smith joining Nick Foligno on the sideline.
The Bruins got it going early as Brad Marchand got on the board just 28 seconds into the game as he beat Adin Hill over the glove. David Pastrnak beat out an icing call and reversed the puck to Patrice Bergeron behind the San Jose net. Bergy one-touched the puck to Marchand in the slot driving the net and just like that, 1-0 Bruins.
Less than 3 minutes later Derek Forbort got his first as a member of the Black and Gold when his wrister found the back of the net over Hill’s blocker. Marchand pulled up with an inside outside move to create space at the right point and found Forbort above the left face-off circle. Forbort took half a stride and let if fly; I don’t know if Hill was screened, but that was one I’m sure he would have liked back.
Late in the period Pasta got on the board during a man advantage. With Brent Burns off for (a really stupid) interference, Bergy redirected a Pasta shot off the crossbar. The rebound bounced to Marchand at the RW dot and he dished it back to Bergy at the bumper. The Captain then found Pasta at the LW circle and it was 3-0 Bruins. The Sharks got one back 32 seconds later when Ullmark was beaten short side by Jasper Weatherby, but the Sharks were done.
Jake DeBrusk scored what would turn out to be the GWG when he converted a Steen pass (his first NHL point) in the opening 5 minutes of the middle stanza. Steen worked the puck through the neutral zone and sent DeBrusk away with an indirect pass off the boards into the San Jose zone. Three quick strides and DeBrusk was away from Radim Simek and he beat Hill far side over the glove. That would be the end of Hill’s day as he vacated the net in place of old friend James Reimer.
The remainder of the 2nd was choppy and uneventful as the Bruins settled in and San Jose rolled over and showed their tummies. I had this blog mostly written as the Bruins looked as if they had this game firmly in hand and the Sharks were eyeballing the exits as they head to Nashville.
The Sharks started to run around a little and seemed to take offense at normal hockey plays. I guess you can’t deliver clean hard hits in today’s NHL. Cliffy and Frederic seemed to draw the most ire from San Jose (not much of a shocker there) as Freddie had this season’s first fighting major when he got jumped by Jacob Middleton. Freddie held his own considering Middleton had his gloves off and was throwing before Freddie was even looking at him. This seemed to give the Sharks a pop as they connected 2x in less than 2 minutes to get back within a goal. First old friend Tomas Hertl with a tip from the high slot beat Ullmark to his left as this puck looked as if it was going wide right when it was shot. Then Logan Couture put a shot from the point on net that was redirected down with a high stick from Timo Meier. The play went to review, but the NHL must not have the NESN feed because it was clearly a high stick from my couch. Nonetheless the call on the ice stood and all of a sudden the Bruins were only up by a goal. San Jose pulled the goalie and kept the puck in the Bruins zone, but Marchand poked a bouncing puck past
11.5 million dollars Erik Karlsson at the point and it was all over. The Bruins are off until Wednesday when they host the much improved Florida Panthers.
- Top pairing of McAvoy and Grzelcyk has been electric. The comfort level they play at is something to see and I believe they complement each other’s games.
- DeBrusk rolling along with his 2nd of the season and made a few key plays defensively.
- Ullmark had no chance on goals 3 and 4. I bet he’d like the first one back but he was out challenging shooters on top of the blue paint and played a solid game.
- Again, Bruins let their foot off the gas a little bit once they were up.
- That’s it, I don’t have any further complaints
- When the Sharks pulled their goalie to try to tie it up, the Bruins rolled out Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy (no surprise there), but they also had Nosek and Forbort out there. Good to see the new guys fit in so well.
- Nice gesture of the Bruins to have Jake Thibeault and his family at the game. Thibeault is a teenage hockey player from the area that was paralyzed during a game over Labor Day. We all wish him strength in his fight to walk again.