When the Bruins returned from Florida and their 0-3-0 road trip last week, they made sure that after their afternoon arrival they hit the ice to get their legs going. That strategy paid off in a matinee victory over Philadelphia the next day.
Out on the West Coast, the Bruins had the same sort of idea yesterday, as they practiced after arriving in San Jose. But this time the travel-then-practice approach didn’t pay off.
The Bruins looked like they still left most of their zeal on the cross-country charter tonight, as they were outshot by the Sharks, 27-17, and dropped a 2-1 decision in the first game of their three-game visit to California. The 17 shots by the Bruins were a season-low.
Only Zdeno Chara’s awkward bank shot off San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi prevented Boston from being shut out. Amazingly, the Sharks have now scored three or less goals in 19 straight games, yet they are still very much alive in the Western Conference playoff race.
•Joe Pavelski, who scored against the Bruins in the Sharks’ October win, scored the first San Jose goal tonight just 3:57 into the game. He took advantage of a rebound of a Patrick Marleau shot.
But the sequence started with Milan Lucic’s ill-advised breakout pass to the center of the San Jose zone, where Joe Thornton made a steal and got the Sharks’ offense going. One Chara giveaway later and San Jose then solved Tim Thomas.
Lucic was pedestrian all night with one shot on net in 18:28 of ice time and a minus-2 rating.
•In an effort to spark the Lucic-David Krejci duo, Bruins head coach Claude Julien moved Tyler Seguin up the depth chart for the third period and dropped Jordan Caron back down with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. The promotion of Seguin sparked the Bruins offensively earlier this month but that trio proved to be a defensive liability. It didn’t take long for that threesome to surrender a goal, as Daniel Winnik cashed in on a 3-on-2 for a 2-0 San Jose lead 2:17 into the last stanza.
Boston had been on its own 3-0n-2, but Seguin’s weak attempt to one-time Krejci’s drop pass was easily broken up and turned the other way by Andrew Desjardins. Yes, the Sharks’ fourth line scored against the Bruins’ first line, with Winnik scoring his first goal since Dec. 15, when he was still with Colorado.
•Thomas was clearly in playoff mode with several Superman-like saves. His best of the night was a sort of two-pads-stacked stop on Martin Havlat on a 2-on-1. Thomas also had several big saves late in the game to keep the Bruins within one goal.
•The lone Boston goal, off the stick of Chara, was the product of more excellent play from the hot line of Chris Kelly centering Brian Rolston and Benoit Pouliot. With an assist on the goal, Rolston now has a four-game point streak with 2-6-8 totals over that time. That line was credited with four shots on net.
•Boston has now lost four in a row on the road in regulation. This is the Bruins’ first such stretch since they lost five straight in regulation Feb. 21-March 15, 2009.
•The Bruins failed on their one power-play opportunity of the night against the team with the league’s worst home penalty kill. They managed just one shot on net during that man-advantage. They also had one shot during the late-game 6-on-5.