Brad Marchand scored a pair of goals before Patrice Bergeron added the insurance marker as the Boston Bruins beat the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, Saturday night at SAP Center.
Jeremy Swayman (12-7-3, 2.04 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) made 15 saves on 16 shots faced (.938 save percentage) for his fifth-straight quality start over Boston’s last seven games (Linus Ullmark tended the crease on Feb. 17th and Feb. 24th).
Meanwhile, San Jose netminder, James Reimer (14-12-5, 2.90 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in 32 games played), stopped 34 out of 37 shots faced in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 31-17-4 (66 points) on the season and remained in 4th place in the Atlantic Division, while surpassing the Washington Capitals for control of the first wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Sharks fell to 23-23-6 (52 points) overall and remain in 7th place in the Pacific Division– 15 points ahead of the Seattle Kraken from the basement of the division.
Boston visited San Jose for the first time since their thrilling, 6-5, overtime victory on Feb. 18, 2019, as the pandemic cut the 2019-20 regular season short before their annual visit to SAP Center and the 2020-21 season featured temporarily realigned divisions with travel limited to within said divisions.
The B’s have not lost in San Jose since March 15, 2016, when the Sharks beat Boston, 3-2– marking the longest string of games the Bruins have won at SAP Center since then (four games).
Boston swept their 2021-22 regular season series against San Jose with a 2-0-0 record.
Curtis Lazar (upper body) joined Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) on the list of players that were out of the lineup due to injury for the Bruins Saturday night in San Jose.
Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters on Friday that Lazar would be “day-to-day” and out of the lineup against the Sharks.
As a result, Jesper Frödén suited up in Lazar’s place on the fourth line right wing.
Cassidy made no other changes from Thursday night’s, 3-2, overtime victory in Seattle to Saturday night’s action in San Jose.
Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh served as Boston’s healthy scratches in the press box at SAP Center.
Erik Haula caught Tomáš Hertl with a high stick and yielded the first power play of the game to the Sharks at 1:44 of the first period.
San Jose wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however, as the Bruins made the kill and Haula re-emerged from the penalty box.
Late in the period, Haula sent a pass to Jake DeBrusk as DeBrusk entered the attacking zone with Marchand on a 2-on-1, setting up Marchand (22) for a one-timer goal to put the B’s ahead, 1-0, as a result.
DeBrusk (9) and Haula (14) had the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the game at 14:24 of the first period.
About a minute later, Boston botched a line change and was assessed a bench minor for too many skaters on the ice at 15:28.
Craig Smith served the penalty and the Bruins were unscathed on the ensuing penalty kill.
Entering the first intermission, Boston held a, 1-0, lead on the scoreboard and a, 9-5, advantage in shots on goal.
The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (10-4), while the Sharks led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (6-2) and faceoff win percentage (63-38).
Both teams had nine hits apiece, while San Jose was 0/3 on the power play heading into the middle frame. Boston had yet to see any action on the skater advantage.
DeBrusk briefly exited the ice after a routine check along the boards left him with a bit of a stinger somewhere in his lower body, but he returned to action without missing a beat as the two teams got underway in the second period.
Mario Ferraro presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 3:34 of the second period as the Sharks forward cut a rut to the sin bin for holding.
San Jose killed off Ferraro’s minor and wouldn’t see him much more for the rest of the night as about midway through the action, Taylor Hall shoved Ferraro a little too far away from the puck to be assessed an interference minor, while Ferraro lost his footing and went awkwardly into the boards– bending his leg around the ankle in precisely the wrong direction that it is normally supposed to look like.
Ferraro would not return to Saturday night’s game, while Hall went to the box at 12:03 of the second period.
It didn’t take the Sharks long to convert on the power play as Brent Burns sent a pass across the slot to Timo Meier (24) for a one-timer goal from the left dot with eyes through Swayman into the twine.
Burns (31) and Logan Couture (21) tallied the assists on Meier’s power-play goal as San Jose tied things up, 1-1, at 12:50 of the second period.
A couple of minutes later, the Sharks were guilty of having too many skaters on the ice– sending Ryan Dzingel to serve the bench minor at 14:56 as a result.
Boston failed to capitalize on the ensuing power play.
Both teams went into the second intermission with a goal on the scoreboard– tied, 1-1, despite the Bruins dominating shots on goal, 24-9, including a, 15-4, advantage in the middle frame alone.
The B’s held the lead in blocked shots (13-12), while the Sharks led in takeaways (7-5), giveaways (8-6) and hits (19-14).
Both teams amassed a, 50-50, faceoff win% through two periods.
San Jose was 1/4 on the power play, while Boston was 0/2 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.
Noah Gregor caught Bergeron with a high stick to kick things off at 1:12 of the third period, yielding a power play to the Bruins as a result.
Boston nearly converted on the power play, but Gregor was freed from the box about six seconds prior to Marchand’s (23) second goal of the game– this time on a one-timer from the low left circle– below the dot and off of Reimer’s mask and into the twine.
Hall (26) and Smith (12) tallied the assists as Marchand’s goal put the Bruins ahead, 2-1, at 3:18 of the third period.
The two teams continued to swap chances as things got a little heated late in the third, resulting in a pair of minutes at 4-on-4 courtesy of Connor Clifton and Jeffrey Viel’s roughing minors at 15:38.
In the final minutes of the game, San Jose whiffed at a couple of chances on a mostly empty net with Swayman in desperation– making save after save as the Sharks pressed.
In one instance the Boston goaltender held his glove up in a last-ditch effort while sprawled out across the crease and snagged the puck out of mid-air.
With less than a minute remaining in regulation, the Sharks didn’t even get a chance to pull Reimer for an extra attacker as the Bruins were in the offensive zone.
Marchand sent a pass across the width of the ice to David Pastrnak before Pastrnak connected with Bergeron (14) in the bumper to give the B’s an insurance goal and a, 3-1, lead at 19:20 of the third period.
Pastrnak (23) and Marchand (29) had the assists as the seconds ticked down to Boston’s fourth consecutive win since losing, 4-1, to the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on Feb. 17th.
The Bruins beat the Sharks, 3-1, and finished Saturday night leading in shots on goal, 37-16, including a, 13-7, advantage in the third period alone.
Boston left SAP Center with two points in the regular season standings and the advantage in blocked shots (17-15), as well as faceoff win% (55-45), while San Jose vacated their own ice leading in giveaways (12-8) and hits (24-20).
The Sharks finished the night 1/4 on the power play, while the B’s went 0/3.
Boston improved to 21-7-1 (11-3-1 on the road) when scoring first, 19-2-1 (10-1-1 on the road) when leading after one period and 7-3-0 (2-2-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.
San Jose fell to 8-19-3 (5-11-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-18-1 (3-10-1 at home) when trailing after the first period and 7-3-3 (4-2-2 at home) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins continue their six-game road trip (2-0-0) next Monday (Feb. 28th) in Los Angeles before visiting Anaheim next Tuesday (March 1st) to finish up the month of February.
Boston kicks off March next Thursday (March 3rd) in Vegas and wraps up their road trip in Columbus next Saturday (March 5th) before returning home to host the Kings on March 7th.
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