Even with the blizzard conditions throughout the state of Massachusetts, fans flocked to the TD Garden to watch the Boston Bruins take on the San Jose Sharks. The brave fans that adventured out into the storm would not be disappointed, as the Bruins got off to a hot start and never looked back.
With a new coach on the bench and five days of rest, the Bruins were expected to start the game off fast, and they delivered. Just 52 seconds into the period, David Backes beat goaltender Martin Jones to the glove side off a one-timer for his 12th goal of the season. The goal was set up after David Krejci and Torey Krug won a battle in the corner and Krug was able to find Backes wide open in the slot.
The Bruins were able to control the play early by employing a new breakout strategy that placed their wingers higher in the zone to create space and a faster transition game. Although the Bruins were controlling the pace, one mistake in their zone was all it took for the Sharks to get on the board.
After a faceoff win, the Bruins turned the puck over at the blue line, where Joe Thornton scooped it up and streaked down the left wing. Thornton fired an off-angle bullet over Tuukka Rask’s shoulder and into the top corner of the net to tie the game at one.
Following the goal, the Sharks’ top line of Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Tomas Hertl started to generate numerous chances for the visitors. On two different shifts, they were able to trap the Bruins in their end for an extensive period but were unable to score.
With just over four minutes remaining in the frame, Bruins blueliner Brandon Carlo fired a shot from the point that was tipped by Backes and eventually slammed into the net by Patrice Bergeron to put the Bruins up 2-1.
As the period wound down, the Sharks were found guilty of having six skaters on the ice, giving the home team their first power play of the contest. David Pastrnak registered his 23rd tally of the season on the power play after Brad Marchand set him up for a one-time rocket shot. The goal gave the Bruins a 3-1 advantage on the scoreboard heading into the second period.
When the Sharks took the ice for the second frame, backup goaltender Aaron Dell was between the pipes after Jones gave up three goals on 12 shots in the first. The change in net seemed to spark the Sharks early, as they wasted no time getting on the board.
Just 1:08 into the period, the Sharks had the Bruins pinned in when Justin Braun released a wrist shot from the point that bounced off a few players before trickling across the line. Braun’s third of the season cut the deficit back to one.
It appeared as though the Sharks were on their way to getting the game tied, as they had more energy in the early stages of the frame. However, the Bruins were able to open their lead to two goals after Tim Schaller buried a rebound in front of the net.
With just over two minutes remaining in the period, the Bruins went back on the power play after Paul Martin was called for tripping. The Bruins wore down the Sharks’ penalty killers by maintaining control of the puck for the majority of the power play, and eventually Bergeron found Pastrnak all alone on the back post for a wide open goal. Pastrnak’s second tally of the game gave the Bruins a 5-2 lead.
About five minutes into the third period, the Sharks received their first power play chance of the evening and desperately needed a goal. The Sharks were able to maintain control for much of the power play but struggled to get pucks to the net. They were unable to cash in on the opportunity, as they only got one shot through to Rask.
Halfway through the frame, the Sharks started scrambling for offense and played very aggressively in the offensive end. Their aggressive play enabled the Bruins to get a handful of odd-man rushes, but neither team could capitalize on their chances.
With about five minutes left in the period, Adam McQuaid was sent to the box, giving the Sharks another crucial power play opportunity. Once again, the Sharks established control in the offensive zone, but the Bruins’ penalty kill was able to keep the puck on the outside and away from the net as the visitors failed to register a shot on goal.
With 2:37 remaining in the period, Krug blocked a Sharks shot attempt and the puck eventually found the stick of Timo Meier, and he was able to slide the puck past Rask to make it a 5-3 game. On the ensuing faceoff, the Sharks pulled their goalie but were unable to generate any quality scoring chances.
Marchand officially sealed the game with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left to give the Bruins a 6-3
BOS- David Backes (12) assisted by Torey Krug (29) and David Krejci (22)
SJS-Joe Thornton (4) assisted by Tomas Hertl (7)
BOS-Patrice Bergeron (14) assisted by David Backes (12) and Brandon Carlo (9)
BOS-David Pastrnak (23) (PP) assisted by Patrice Bergeron (17)
SJS-Justin Braun (3) assisted by Logan Couture (19) and Patrick Marleau (13)
BOS-Tim Schaller (7) assisted by Riley Nash(7) and Dominic Moore(9)
BOS-David Pastrnak (24) (PP) assisted by Patrice Bergeron (18) and Brad Marchand (33)
SJS-Timo Meier (3) assisted by Joel Ward (15) and Tomas Hertl (8)
BOS-Brad Marchand(24) (EN) assisted by Patrice Bergeron (19) and David Backes (13)
THW THREE STARS
First: Patrice Bergeron (1 goal, 3 assists)
Second: David Pastrnak (2 goals)
Third: David Backes (1 goal, 2 assists)
Vancouver Canucks at Boston Bruins
TD Garden – Feb. 11 at 1:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, SN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: First Meeting of the Season
San Jose Sharks at Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center – Feb.11 at 1:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NHL Network, CSN-PH, CSN-PA
2016-17 Season Series: Sharks Lead 1-0
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.