Another former Bruin made his triumphant return to TD Garden tonight, this time in the form of “Jumbo” Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. Heading into the game, Thornton had registered three points in five games for a San Jose team that’s underperformed thus far, much like the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
Both teams were a game under .500 heading into Saturday night’s affair, hoping to break even in a match between east and west coast foes.
Though failing to produce, the Bruins turned in yet another good-looking power play, impressively moving the puck as both units seem to be playing with more confidence.
Tyler Seguin had the Bruins best scoring chance of the first period with an open look in front of net, ripping a wrist shot past Antti Niemi, which unfortunately rang iron.
The first line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Nathan Horton produced the most scoring opportunities throughout the first period, continually using their diverse skill-set to put pressure on opposing defensemen.
The Bruins used a strong first penalty kill to shut down San Jose’s only power play; great work by Marchand and Greg Campbell in particular. Working with different penalty kill partners, both players were very effective in thwarting any San Jose chances.
Fast skating and good positioning produces an early wrist shot chance for Marchand, stopped on a well-positioned save by Antti Niemi.
Shawn Thornton fought Jim Vandermeer midway through the second period, and really handed it to the old veteran. It was a good move by Thornton trying to spark some much needed momentum for the Bruins.
You can always count on Thornton to get into a fight when the Bruins really need that energy boost, making him one of the most reliable fourth line enforces in the game today.
Sloppy play by the San Jose defensemen and a good break for the Bruins leads to their first goal of the game. Niemi didn’t even have a chance as Lucic tucked in a rebound behind him; Chris Kelly and Bergeron assisted the goal at the 2:43 mark of the period.
Tyler Seguin scores shortly thereafter from Lucic, and Kelly, at the 3:12 mark of the period. Great feed by Lucic across Niemi, to Seguin, who roofs it for his third goal of the season.
The kid continues to impress; his positioning has been outstanding, thoroughly improved.
A breakdown by the Bruins defense of Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference led to the first goal of the game. It was a great shot from Joe Pavelski that beat Tim Thomas top shelf, the lone assist coming from Joe Thornton at the 1:12 mark of the first period.
Pavelski had a wide-open look in front of the net to beat Thomas; the Bruins must get better net coverage to protect their goaltenders in the future.
The Bruins lone power play of the period might of looked nice, as their passing was certainly crisp, but zero shots on goal will never produce any goals. If the bruins want to get better on the power play, they must start hitting the net!
Bad net-coverage (as previously discussed) by the Bruins defensive unit of Dennis Seidenberg and Joe Corvo led to the second San Jose goal. Logan Couture was left alone right in front of Thomas, corralling a beautiful feed from Martin Havlat and one-timing it right past the net-minder Thomas. Ryan Clowe had the secondary assist, as the goal came at the 9:54 mark of the period.
The Bruins had a pretty sloppy period overall, and needed to quite “star-watching” and actually start playing physical, aggressive, Bruins style hockey.
The Bruins followed up a few brilliant offensive shifts with sloppy play in their own end, resulting in the third goal of the night for San Jose. Benn Ferreiro (a former Boston College Eagle) scores the goal on a juicy tap-in rebound coming off repeated San Jose shots.
Vandermeer, and Jamie McGinn assisted the goal coming at the 8:48 mark of the period.
The Bruins were unable to capitalize on the rest of their scoring chances, resulting in a San Jose victory.
Consistency has always been a problem for this Bruins team. The past few seasons they have shown the ability to play dynamite hockey at times, but unable to bring it for all three periods of a game, the full 60 minutes. Although its cliché, playing a full 60 minutes is key to winning a hockey game, and coach Claude Julien must do anything possible to motivate his players to do so.
FROM THE ROOM
Antti Niemi on win over the Bruins:
Joe Pavelski on recent success playing at TD Garden and more:
Joe Thornton on how meaningful Boston is too him:
Tyler Seguin on his development and a tough loss to the Sharks: