By: Jeremy Perrigo
Boston came into San Jose Saturday night with the hopes of closing out their California road trip on a high note. After dropping the first game of the trip on Wednesday to Anaheim 4-2, the team then traveled to Los Angeles Thursday where they shut down the Kings 2-1. Head coach Bruce Cassidy stated the team would go with backup netminder Anton Khudobin for the second consecutive night after a strong performance from the 31 year old in L.A. San Jose fell to the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with a 2-0 loss at home to the Florida Panthers Thursday night. Despite having two goals disallowed in the game, Sharks’ head coach Peter DeBoer said the team did “not [have] enough good stretches” of play in the game. His group hoped for a full 60-minute effort against the injury-plagued Bruins.
The Sharks would look to open the scoring just 1:02 into the first period on a scrum in front of Khudobin. However, upon review it was deemed that the puck was batted in by the hand of San Jose winger Joonas Donskoi and therefore the goal was disallowed.
Despite having a goal disallowed, the Sharks continued to take the play to the Bruins’ end of the ice. The hard work would pay off when Timo Meier received a pass in front of the net from Daniel O’Regan to officially open the scoring 4:50 in.
It would take the Bruins less than two minutes to respond when Jake DeBrusk dodged an open-ice hip check from defenseman Brent Burns and charged into the offensive zone to make a move on goaltender Aaron Dell, which would be stopped. However, Peter Cehlarik would crash the net to put in the rebound. The call would be challenged by San Jose for goaltender interference, but the goal would stand as it was deemed DeBrusk made contact with Dell because he was tripped into the net.
DeBrusk would continue to produce for his team as he caught up to a Charlie McAvoy sky-hook pass through the neutral zone, which sent him down on a breakaway where he beat Dell to put Boston up 2-1.
The period would continue at a furious pace as both teams went back and forth trading scoring opportunities. However, the score would remain the same. San Jose outshot Boston by a significant margin of 17-5, yet the Bruins took the advantage on the scoreboard 2-1.
The second frame would continue with the same intense pace as the first. No goals were scored in the period yet Tomas Hertl was one of multiple Sharks that found quality scoring chances in the Bruins’ zone. Khudobin stayed strong in net, maintaining the lead for his team. Boston outshot San Jose 9-8 in the period, and the Sharks won 56.2% of faceoffs through the first 40 minutes.
It took San Jose 11:40 into the final 20 minutes to register a shot on the Bruin goal. This is not for lack of effort. To the Sharks’ credit they were doing a good job of generating chances in the offensive zone, but shot blocking from Zdeno Chara, Rob O’Gara and Jordan Szwarz, to name a few, kept the Sharks from creating significant threats.
Boston took advantage of opportunities when they had them, despite playing much of the period in their own end. Tim Schaller made a quick play to Szwarz on a two-on-one that almost ended up in the back of the net Sharks’ net.
DeBrusk and Cehlarik would nearly connect as well on a back-door play before the Bruins finally broke through when Kevan Miller charged down the right wall into the San Jose end. Miller cut to the front of the net before firing a pass towards the far post that was perfectly redirected by Danton Heinen to put the B’s up 3-1.
The Sharks would pull Dell with well over two minutes left in the period. San Jose was given an opportunity to cut into the Bruins' lead when Khudobin took a whack at Logan Couture in front of the net to send his team to the penalty kill with 1:14 left. Khudobin made good on the call, stopping a flurry of chances in the final minute of the game to hold on to a 3-1 win.
Final Score: Boston 3 / San Jose 1
San Jose outshot Boston 12-6 in the third period, outshooting the Bruins 37-20 overall. The teams split faceoff wins 50/50 and Boston made the majority of hits 30-23.
Next Game: Wednesday, November 22 at New Jersey 7pm EST
The story going into the game for Boston revolved around the Bruins’ decision to start backup goaltender Anton Khudobin for the second straight game after a solid performance against Los Angeles. With starter Tuukka Rask sitting on the bench, Khudobin stopped 36 of 37 San Jose shots, solidifying the B's first two-game win streak of the season. He looked composed and focused, similar to his Southern California performance.
Peter Cehlarik became the sixth Bruin of the year to record his first regular season NHL goal. His goal would not have been possible without the hard work of Jake DeBrusk, who was seen all over the ice Saturday, and factored into two tallies with a goal and an assist on the night.
Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak have been noticeably absent on the score sheet during the California road trip, with Bergeron recording the only point of the two, an assist, in the three games. The Bruins face a Devils team Wednesday that has impressed early on in the season with rookies Nico Hischier and Will Butcher, along with first overall draft pick Taylor Hall, leading the team to the top of the Metropolitan Division. If Boston wants to put up a respectable performance they’re going to need their stars to turn it up a notch.