On Thursday evening, the Boston Bruins were looking to build on their recent two-game home winning streak when they took their talents out west for a showdown with the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion. Unfortunately, it seemed as though the B’s left their new-found momentum back in Boston when they made the 3,000 mile voyage to North California.
Things got off to a slow start for the Black and Gold, who looked an awful lot like a team that had just endured a grueling cross-country flight. After a brutal bluline turnover by Milan Lucic and a few more defensive zone mistakes than bench boss Claude Julien would have liked, the B’s found themselves down 1-0, just inside the four minute mark of the opening frame. It would be the American-born Joe Pavelski who would put San Jose ahead early after finding himself uncovered in front of the Bruins’ net thanks to some slick puck work from Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.
It wasn’t until the 2:17 mark of the third period that the Sharks would double their lead when former University of New Hampshire standout Daniel Winnik would fire an off-angle shot over the glove of Tim Thomas and into the back of the Boston net.
Late in the final frame, the B’s would get one back when a fluky bounce went their way as captain Zdeno Chara bounced a bad-angle wrister off the pads of Niemi and into the San Jose goal.
Unfortunately for the hoards of Bostonians that burnt the midnight oil in watching Thursday’s game telecast, the B’s simply couldn’t solve Niemi for a second time as they fell 2-1 to a desperate San Jose squad.
Registering a season-low 17 shots on goal, the Bruins clearly looked like a tired team on Thursday. After a long travel day on Wednesday, the B’s simply couldn’t muster the energy or intensity necessary to outlast a team currently engaged in a heated battle. Speaking from experience, it is indeed awfully tough to recover from the six/seven hour flight from Boston to California. Couple that with the three hour time change and it makes for an unfavorable scenario for anyone, especially hockey players competing against a team that’s been comfortably at home since March 14. Look for a much stronger effort from the Black and Gold on Saturday in Los Angeles, after they’ve had a solid seventy-two hours to adjust to life in the Golden State. Also, one would expect that Marty Turco could get the start at the Staples Center against an offensively challenged Kings squad.
Ben’s Three Stars:
2) Joe Pavelski (1 Goal/Plus-2 Rating)
3) Brian Rolston (1 Assist/Plus-1 Rating)
– The Black and Gold will now trek south through the state of California for a Saturday showdown at the Staples Center with the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks will continue their home-stand with a match-up against the Coyotes on Saturday.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.