For much of the night I was waiting for one of the referees or linesmen to blow the whistle against the San Jose Sharks for a too many men on the ice. The only problem was, the Sharks never had too many men on the ice, in fact, the teams were at even strength for the majority of the night. Despite being out shot 39-17 and outplayed for much of the contest, the Boston Bruins (7-2-0) were able to beat the Sharks (8-1-1) 2-1 on a goal with only 0.8 seconds left.
The Bruins had played a night earlier in Buffalo while the Sharks had not played since Monday, so it was no surprise San Jose’s skaters were a step quicker in the opening period. In fact, if not for the great goaltending of Tuukka Rask, the Bruins could have easily been down two or three goals. Rask had to stop sixteen shots in the period. The Bruins on the other hand, could only muster three shots against Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. The early action for Rask may have been a good thing for him, having not played since last Saturday in Tampa.
After the game Rask explained how the Sharks attacking pressure early on helped him get into a rhythm. “I just wanted to get a good start. Sometimes it’s better when you face a lot of shots in the first period you kind of get yourself into the game if you’re able to save the pucks. It’s more of a mental challenge. You know, force yourself to be awake and fully aware of what’s going on out there. But luckily they had so many shots and I was able to save all of them in the first.”
The second period was much better for the Bruins, only being out shot 9-7 and actually formulating some semblance of an offensive attack against San Jose. The Bruins would not have scored if it were not for a great glove save by Niemi against Patrice Bergeron at 17:09 of the second.
The play started with a quick pass from Reilly Smith at the top of the faceoff circle in the Bruins zone to Brad Marchand. With San Jose defenseman Brad Stuart pinching, Marchand carried the puck through the neutral zone into Shark territory, creating a 2 on 1 with Bergeron. A cross-crease pass to Bergeron looked like it would finally get the Bruins on the board as Niemi was positioned to save a shot from Marchand. However, Niemi showed his athleticism sliding to the other side of the net, lifting his glove just in time to save Bergeron’s shot.
It looked like the game would go into the third period still tied 0-0, but Boston was able to score a goal with a little more than a minute left. Jarome Iginla was the goal scorer, although his first goal in a Bruins uniform was not the prettiest, it was an example of how Iginla is fitting in perfectly with the identity of his new team. A shot from Dennis Seidenberg went wide of the net, but Iginla was hanging around the net and found himself in perfect position to get a stick on the puck that had rebounded off the boards to squeak a goal through the pads of Niemi.
After being thoroughly outplayed for forty-minutes, the Bruins found themselves with a 1-0 lead and looked like they were going to steal a game they had not played that well in. The lead did not last long though, as the Sharks came out with a vengeance in the third and scored 0:18 into the period. The goal scored by Patrick Marleau came off a turnover in the Bruins zone, the Sharks suffocating forecheck finally resulted in a goal.
The Sharks seemed reinvigorated by the tying goal and were once again clearly outplaying the Bruins who were struggling once again to get the puck out of their zone. At 04:35 of the period however, a tripping penalty to the Sharks Joe Thornton seemed to even the ice surface, and the Bruins matched the play of the Sharks.
As time was winding down in the last period, the score was still tied and looked destined for an overtime finish. The Bruins had other ideas however, playing until the final seconds as they have been accustomed to do. Good work by Lucic in the offensive zone led to a shot on goal by Adam McQuaid. The San Jose defense, who had done a stellar job all night, left David Krejci all alone in front of the net and he thanked the Sharks by tipping the puck past Niemi with under a second left in the game.
For San Jose, playing as a better team for most of the night, it was a tough loss. “Yeah, we did play well again tonight; it’s just a little mistake at the end,” captain Joe Thornton said. For the Sharks, it was their first loss in regulation on the season.
The Bruins won’t have long to enjoy the win as they play Saturday at 7 pm in Boston against the New Jersey Devils (1-5-4). It will be the team’s third game in four nights and they cannot afford to bring the same effort that they did against the Sharks.