The San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins wrap up the season series with the last of two games between the two coasts. Boston is holding on by a claw to its playoff hopes while the Sharks will head into their bye week after this game with at least a share of the Pacific Division lead.
Bruins Hanging on out East
If the playoffs started today, the Boston Bruins would hold the eighth and final spot out in the Eastern Conference. As the second wild card.
While being in a playoff spot with 24 games to play is good news, the bad news is everyone in the east is still in it. The Bruins are at 64 points while last place is a tie between the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes, who sit at 56 points a piece. That’s just eight points separating the cellar of the division from a ticket to the big dance. Today’s game against the Sharks is not a do or die for Boston: every game is.
The Bruins big guns of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak lead the way for the squad. Marchand is first on the Bruins in points (58), and assists (34) and third-year winger David Pastrnak’s 25 goals paces Boston and places him tied for 11th in the NHL.
The Bruins have won all three games since they released Claude Jullian from his coaching duties on Feb. 7.
After a three-goal first period for Boston, head coach Peter DeBoer yanked Martin Jones, and the Bruins held on to defeat the Sharks 6-3 thanks to two power-play goals by Pastrnak. Aaron Dell, who won last night against the Arizona Coyotes, took the loss but today Jones looks to redemption. The Sharks second-year starter is playing at his career averages, but the rhythm of his game has been off. The heavy workload thus far is a likely contributor. The defense has also slipped in the last half-dozen games with Paul Martin and David Schlemko noticeably struggling at times. The Sharks still have plenty of time to steady the ship, but some adjustments are certainly needed.
Nikolay Goldobin played his first NHL game in over a year skating alongside Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward on the Sharks third line.The 2014 first round pick played well enough to stay in the lineup as Jonas Donskoi continues to rest his injured shoulder.
The Sharks fourth line of Melker Kalrsson (goal, two assists), Micheal Haley (goal, assist) and Chris Tierney (somehow no points) had a strong showing against Arizona.
Kevin Labanc has four assists in his last four games and sticking with the Sharks top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.
Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks
SAP Center – 5:30 p.m. PST
Broadcast channels – NBCSN
Radio: Sharks Radio Network
2016-17 Season Series:
Feb. 9: Bruins 6 – Sharks 3
San Jose Sharks – 35-18-6 (76 Points)
Home Record: 18-7-3
Hot Players: Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc, Brent Burns
Key Injuries: Dylan DeMelo, Joonas Donskoi
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Nikolay Goldobin – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (Expected)
Boston Bruins – 28-23-6 (64 Points)
Road Record: 14-10-6
Hot Players: David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Torey Krug
Key Injuries: Austin Czarnik
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes
Peter Cehlarik – 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
Tuukka Rask (Expected)
1)Brent Burns season is running out of superlatives. The Norris Trophy front-runner had two goals against the Coyotes and now has 27 markers on the season, tying his career high set last year.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 19, 2017
2)Patrick Marleau skated in his 600th consecutive game on Feb. 15 vs. Florida and became the 10th player in NHL history to appear in 600 consecutive regular-season games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, four active players are among those 10 players: Andrew Cogliano (active streak), Jay Bouwmeester (737 games), Henrik Sedin (679 games) and Keith Yandle (active streak).
3)The Bruins have won all three games since Bruce Cassidy was named as interim head coach on Feb. 7, which began with a 6-3 win over the Sharks. The Bruins are now 6-2-0 in their last eight games overall and are 3-3- 2 in their last eight on the road.
4)David Pastrnak is currently riding a five-game point streak entering tonight’s game with five goals and five assists over that stretch. The talented Czech winger will be a restricted free agent this summer and look for the Bruins to lock him up long term.
5)Brad Marchand has found the scoresheet in 13 of his last 18 games and recorded 27 points during that time, including a career-high tying five-point game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan 14.
6)The Sharks are 12-17-5-1 in franchise history against the Bruins. Since the Sharks acquired Thornton on Nov. 30, 2005, San Jose is 8-5-0-1 when taking on Boston.