March 23, 2012

Sharks send sluggish Bruins to fourth-straight road loss

By Jesse Connolly

Final: San Jose 2, Boston 1

Recap: After two inspiring wins over Philadelphia and Toronto, the Bruins were right back to their old ways early in San Jose, as Joe Pavelski capitalized on some shoddy play by the B’s in their own zone and put the Sharks ahead 1-0.

After Boston registered just nine shots through two frames, San Jose went up by a pair in the third as Daniel Winnik sniped one over Tim Thomas, stick side, to make it 2-0. The Bruins cut the lead in half with 4:15 remaining when Zdeno Chara banked a shot off a down-and-out Antti Niemi, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get.

Records: San Jose 37-27-10, 84 points; Boston 42-28-3, 87 points

Key Play of the Game: San Jose’s first strike pretty much summed up the night for the B’s. Milan Lucic forced a pass up the middle and it was picked off. The Sharks crowded Thomas’ net and the sluggish B’s failed to keep all parties involved covered. Pavelski was left all alone in front and slammed home a loose puck.

Connolly’s Commendations: Thomas was the only Bruin who was on top of his game in this one. The netminder gave his team a fighting chance all night, standing on his head for 60 minutes with a number dazzling stops, including a sprawling, stacked-pads stop on Martin Havlat.

Brian Rolston also deserves a pat on the back for his efforts. No. 12 was the only Boston forward with multiple shots (3) and picked up an assist to extend his point streak to four games.

Connolly’s Critiques: Thursday’s game was one Milan Lucic would love to forget about as quickly as humanly possible. The hulking winger was unlucky was he caught iron in the second period, but Lucic was guilty of a game-high three giveaways and finished minus-2 on the evening (as did linemate David Krejci).

The Bruins made a point of leaving for California a day early in order to adjust to the time-zone change prior to their matchup with the Sharks. Unfortunately, if you watched the game, you’d never have guessed it. Boston simply looked jet-lagged from start to finish, especially d-man Andrew Ference.

Notes: The B’s finished the night with a season-low 17 shots on goal. After scoring with 4:15 left, the Bruins effort to knot things up was virtually nonexistent. Boston’s only shot after Chara’s strike came with 19 seconds left via Dennis Seidenberg from 109 (!) feet away.

Final Thoughts: The Bruins (as always seems to be the case) simply don’t match up well with San Jose. Their offense was out of sorts, their passing was abysmal at times and the whole team seemed to be skating in quicksand. Boston’s now riding a four-game losing streak on the road.

Next: The B’s will be back at it on Saturday night when they take on the Kings in Los Angeles.