Tag Archives: San Jose Sharks

West Coast Trip: Part 2 – Sharks

The three and a half hours of sleep I received before work this morning were well worth it — Around 1:30 a.m. (on the East coast), big Zdeno Chara bore down San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and unleashed his 105 M.P.H. cannon from 20 feet out.

Zdeno Chara's shootout goal at HP Pavillion

Chara’s lone goal in the shootout completed a 65+ minute effort for the Black and Gold last night in San Jose and gave the Bruins a 2-1 victory at the HP Pavillion.

From the opening puck drop, Boston was able to match the Sharks intensity as both teams traded scoring chances and engaged each other physically. Noteworthy last night was the performance of Milan Lucic who stood out in the 1st last night with two very strong plays: one, a big hit along the side boards in the defensive zone, and later he did a great job of controlling the puck in the offensive zone up against the boards. He was able to put a good deal of pressure and torque on that injured ankle, which is great news. Even from a few thousand miles away, I could see a desperation, an energy, and a willingness to do anything to win that has been lacking from Boston’s play for the better part of this season. Key injuries to key players have caused Bruin players to rely not on skill, but on sheer determination. When Mark Recchi is your top-line Center, you know it’s gonna be a grind-em-out type of evening. That’s precisely what I saw.

Perhaps Boston’s exemplary effort was rewarded with a little luck; over the past week, I’ve been saying that the Bruins will need opportunistic offense and A+ goaltending. They received both last night. Daniel Paille capitalized on a San Jose turnover when his rebound bounced in off of Shark D-man Dan Boyle in the 1st and Tim Thomas had a very strong game and was as competitive as I’ve seen him all season; even though he was twice aided by the goalpost. Of his 41 saves last night, probably five could be considered difficult, which is a credit to the defensive system installed by Head Coach Claude Julien and his staff. Boston did a good (not great) job of clearing the front of the net and keeping the Sharks shooters to the outside. I will say that Boston did an above average job of clogging up passing lanes on everyone except Joe Thornton who, like Marc Savard, can thread the needle with the best of them.

All in all, last night was the most exciting win for this team since the Winter Classic. I only hope they can sustain that effort and intensity. Boston goes for win number two on this road trip tomorrow afternoon in Los Angeles. I will be able to catch the first two periods on my laptop during my layover in Denver. I’ll post periodically during my week vacation in Arizona. Go Coyotes!

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West Coast Trip: Part 1 – Ducks

Jonas Hiller and the Ducks celebrateWhat a frustrating game last night.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Bruins are severely undermanned (not in quantity, but quality) and will need to be extremely opportunistic in order to win games. The inconsistency in the lines and the minor league call-ups on defense mean that the Bruins will invariably give up more opportunities than they generate, and when those chances come around, the Bruins NEED to bury them.

Overall, Boston had a strong game last night against a strong Anaheim team, but were just unable to put the puck in the net when they had to. Michael Ryder hit his 15,000th post this year and David Krejci was robbed in the crease — both in the 3rd. Games like last nights emphatically highlight the need on this team for a proven goal scorer who is actually producing goals at this time. Ryder is considered by some to be a “proven” goal scorer but hasn’t touched 30 goals for nearly four years.

Having said that, Boston just needs to focus on staying in playoff position until their injured stars return. I think that the Olympic break will do this team a world of good, since they have no real momentum that would be in jeopardy of dissolving at this point in time. They just need to heal up for the post-season.

Tonight, it’s off to San Jose to face Joe Thornton and the Sharks.

Perennially amongst the leagues elite (regular season) teams, tonight’s game should be a much tougher task than the one the Bruins left behind in Anaheim. Tim Thomas is slated to get the start. Dennis Wideman is day-to-day with Can’t-Hit-The-Net-itis — but seriously, he hurt his leg blocking a shot last night.

The only way to win tonight is to outhit and outwork San Jose, especially in front of the goaltenders, on both ends of the ice.

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