There is not much the Bruins could have learned about themselves in their game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday at SAP Arena, such is the sorry state of their rebuilding opponent.
But while nothing jumped out to excite fans who stayed up late to watch, the B’s banked the requisite two points in their 3-1 win over the Sharks.
If they have pretty tic-tac-toe plays in their arsenal, the B’s haven’t shown it in their first three games. Unimpressed by his team’s 5-on-5 play in he first two games, coach Jim Montgomery had changed his top three lines going into the game. He turned the blender on again before the second period was out, still to no avail. But nevertheless, the B’s notched their third win in as many tries this year.
The B’s, who landed 17 shots on net in the opening 20, controlled much of the first period but did not get on the board until the final two minutes, when they scored twice in 21 seconds.
The first one came at 18:06 on a line change. After John Beecher changed for his fellow rookie Matt Poitras, he covered for the pinching Derek Forbort and stopped a clearing attempt at the left point and slipped it back down to Brad Marchand. The captain walked into the left dot and sniped his first goal of the year over goalie Kaapo Kahkonen glove arm, a perfect shot. The helper was Beecher’s first NHL point.
On the next shift, the B’s new 650-pound line of Charlie Coyle, Trent Frederic and James van Riemsdyk – the B’s best line of the game – went on the attack. Coyle went on the attack on his off wing, took the puck behind the net and then threw it toward the goal mouth. Frederic had a couple of wahcks at it before van Riemsdyk jammed it home for his third goal in two games. Sharks coach David Quinn debated with his staff of reviewing, van Riemdyk’s stick did come in contact with Kahkonen’s pad and moved it, but Quinn declined to challenge.
At the other end, Linus Ullmark (26 saves) wasn’t overly taxed, seeing a lot of long range shots. But he did come up with a terrific save on a slot shot from Mike Hoffman, one of the few Sharks’ scoring threats.
While still not giving up much, the B’s didn’t offer much in the way of offense in the second period until there was 3:14 left in the period. And even then, it wasn’t all that pretty.
David Pastrnak burst up the right wing on a partial odd-man break and elected to keep it himself. He got hit from behind and, off balance, Pastrank flailed at the puck before defenseman Matt Benning accidentally deflected it behind Kahkonen. Inartful as it may have been, it was Pastrnak’s fourth goal of the season.
The B’s could not keep the sheet clean for Ullmark in the third period. With 8:47 left, speedster Anthony Duclair streaked down the left wing nd, after running out of real estate, threw the puck in front where it bounced off Hampus Lindholm and past Ullmark.