Due to the poor weather, the Bruins decided to cancel their morning skate, and many are wondering if the game will be postponed as well. While it’s possible, it is unlikely the NHL ends up postponing this contest because this is the last time the Sharks will be on the East Coast this season and working around the already tight schedule would be rather difficult.
Bruins morning skate has been cancelled, but the Bruins/Sharks game is currently planned to go on as scheduled tonight
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) February 9, 2017
Perhaps the biggest headline in the NHL this week was Bruce Cassidy taking over as the Bruins head coach after Claude Julien was fired on Tuesday. This matchup will be Cassidy’s first as the head coach, and he will be looking to get the Bruins back in the win column after suffering two straight losses.
The Sharks will also be looking to end a two-game skid after tough losses to the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres. Despite the recent defeats, the Sharks are still holding down the top spot in the Pacific Division by four points over the Anaheim Ducks and have won seven of their last 10 contests.
San Jose Sharks at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-7:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, SN360, SNW, TVAS, CSN-CA, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: First Meeting of the Season
San Jose Sharks-33-17-4- 70 Points
Road Record: 15-10-2
Hot Players: Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau
Key Injuries: Joonas Donskoi, Dylan DeMelo
Tomas Hertl-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau-Logan Couture-Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier-Chris Tierney-Joel Ward
Marcus Sorensen-Michael Haley-Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin-Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon-David Schlemko
Boston Bruins-26-23-6- 58 Points
Home Record: 12-13-0
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak
Key Injuries: Austin Czarnik
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak has been clicking rather well lately. Over the past five games, the unit has registered 12 goals and 28 points with Marchand recording three two-goal games during the five-game stretch. With the recent surge from the top line, Marchand has moved up to fourth in the NHL in points with 55 and also leads the Bruins in goals, assists and points.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Bruins’ forward Austin Czarnik was recently placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, and it is unclear just how long he will be sidelined for. Due to the injury, the Bruins recalled forward Peter Cehlarik from the Providence Bruins. Cehlarik, a 21-year old rookie, was drafted in the third-round of the 2013 NHL draft and has recorded 18 goals and 33 points in the AHL this season. He spent his first four professional seasons in Sweden but appears to have adapted to the North American game rather well. This is the first time he has been called up to the NHL, but it does not appear he will be in the lineup on Thursday.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] This matchup marks the second of a four-game Eastern Conference road trip for the Sharks. In the first game of the road trip, the Sharks opened up a three-goal lead on the Sabres in the third period but ultimately fell in overtime, 5-4. They will be looking to bounce back quickly from the loss and end their two-game slide. This season the Sharks have posted a healthy record away from the SAP Center of 15-10-2.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has been on a tear in 2016-17 and his performance has him marked as the favorite to win the Norris trophy. Burns has registered 22 goals and 57 points already this season, including six points in his last five games. The blueliner not only brings a dynamic offensive approach to the Sharks, but can also shut down the opposing teams top line making him a serious threat whenever he steps on the ice.
The Bruins have had five days off since their last tilt against the Maple Leafs, lost their long-time head coach on Tuesday and are sitting one point out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. With all of their rest and motivation, they should be expected to come out firing in this contest. If this game proves to be a dud for the Bruins, then the rest of the season could end up being a long downhill fall.
The Sharks will not be an easy opponent as they have been one of the best teams in the NHL this season and are sitting on top of the Pacific Division. The Bruins could potentially struggle to contain the Sharks potent offense since their defense has been struggling as of late and Zdeno Chara has been sidelined with an illness this week.
The key to this game will be how each team starts. If the Sharks can find their legs early and jump out to a two-goal lead, then the Bruins will be left scrambling for offense, and they do not want to get into a shootout style game with snipers like Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau on the opposing side. However, if the Bruins can get the early jump, they may be able to fend off late game charges from the Sharks with solid play between the pipes.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.