With Boston finding success in the east, the San Jose Sharks, who have been dominating the start of their season in the west hit the ice at TD Garden for a match up that never disappoints. Boston always boasts an excited crowd, but the atmosphere around the city has been growing with the Red Sox inclusion in the World Series. Boston was notably on the road for a tilt in Buffalo on Wednesday evening, a game that fell during the same time slot as Game 1 of the World Series being held at Fenway Park. Many San Jose players found themselves inside the historic ballpark for the game during their down time in Boston. With Game 2 hitting the field just a few short miles away, it was back to business for both NHL teams. San Jose looking to keep their road trip success going after a win in Detroit on Monday, while Boston held the same ambitions in front of a sellout home crowd of 17,565.
Chad Johnson got his first nod of the season in Buffalo, giving Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask relief, but Rask was back between the pipes for Boston on Thursday and faced 39 shots. Cross ice, Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi continued his time as starter, saving 15 of 17 shots. Backup goaltender Alex Stalock has yet to start a game this season. With both Rask and Niemi, Finnish goalies in contention for Sochi, many analysts made the game out to be more than it was in terms of a Finnish rivalry. Friends in the off season, with the same agent, the game was just a regular season contest and Rask was quick to point out the positives of his opponents style.
“He’s come a long way,” said Bruins Rask on Sharks Niemi. ” I don’t think he was ever drafted, and he’s a hard worker; I know he works hard every day in practice, does a lot of extra stuff, and it’s paid off. He’s a pretty technical guy, and he’s quick too; he’s gotten quicker I think over the years, and better side to side. I think he’s a pretty well-rounded package as a goalie.”
A well played contest, it was Boston who went on the board first with thanks to Ignila, who had been racking up assists for the black and gold, but hadn’t netted a goal prior. The goal came at 18:48 of the second, J. Iginla (1) Wrist shot – ASST: D. Krejci (8), D. Seidenberg (3).
“I think it’s deserving,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien on Iginla scoring. “He should have had one a long time ago the way he’s played. But it’s nice to see him get that goal and get rewarded for all the hard work he’s done since the start of the season.”
With chances aplenty, the Sharks played an offensively sound game but were unable to capitalize until the beginning moments of the third. Just 18 seconds in, the game was tied 1-1, goal, P. Marleau (8) Snap shot – ASST: M. Vlasic (6). Both fans and players prepared themselves for the reality that an overtime was coming, but Bruins Krejci had different plans for the outcome. After tallying an assist on the Ignila goal in the second, to the surprise of everyone, #46 sealed the Sharks fate and gave Boston the win with a tip-in at 19:59 of the third, D. Krejci (2) Tip-in – ASST: A. McQuaid (2), M. Lucic (5). The goal was a prime example of teamwork at it’s best.
“It was just basically pretty easy,” said Bruins Krejci regarding his teammates assistance. “Pretty easy but we kept it simple, Looch [Milan Lucic] chipped it in soft got the puck in the corner hit Quaider [Adam McQuaid] and knew there was not much time so he just threw it on the net and hoping for the best and luckily I was there. I put my stick on it and it went in.”
The Bruins will host the New Jersey Devils and former Bruins Jaromir Jagr and Michael Ryder on Saturday, while the Sharks continue their east coast road trip with a tilt in Montreal.