By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The Boston Bruins are on fire as of late – winning their last five games including a back-to-back stretch over the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings in some close, back-and-forth games. The Bruins continue their five-game road swing with game three of that stretch tonight against the Sharks. Boston is currently in the second Atlantic division spot, one point ahead of Toronto.
The San Jose Sharks have been a solid team in the West with former Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson on their backend. The Sharks are 7-3-0 in their last ten games and they defeated the Vancouver Canucks twice last week including a massive 7-2 victory over the lone British Columbia team last Monday. The Sharks are second in the Pacific division, only two points behind the Calgary Flames for first and hold a nine-point cushion on the Vegas Golden Knights.
BOS: Tuukka Rask 19-8-4 2.37 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 4-2 win over LAK
SJS: Martin Jones 28-11-4 2.88 GAA .899 SV% Last Game: 32 Saves in 3-2 win vs VAN
Tuukka Rask made a save – a save that will be in contention for “Save of The Year” against the Kings, stacking the pads on a 2-on-1 chance for LA that gave momentum back to Boston. It is only one save but is a small example of the growing confidence in Rask this season and how he has helped the Bruins largely to a ten-game point streak. Tuukka has earned a point in his last thirteen starts and he is in the top ten in almost all the main goaltending statistics.
Brent Burns won the James Norris Memorial Trophy two years ago in 2017 and he is making a strong case to be a finalist for the award once again in 2018-19. As a defenceman, Burns leads the Sharks in points with 11-53-64 numbers in 59 games played this year. In his last five, Burns has 1-5-6 totals and has been a key part to the 7-3-0 run for San Jose.
Brad Marchand is still on fire. With Saturday’s goal, Marchand reached the seventy-point total for the third consecutive season and has the capability of breaking his end-of-season point total of 85 points for the last two seasons. Marchand has nine points in the last five games that he has played in and is taking the offensive responsibilities on his shoulders with the absence of David Pastrnak.
Evander Kane has become a big-time scorer for the Sharks this season and has been a nice addition for the team. The Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada native has 26-24-50 numbers in fifty-nine games this year and has points in four of his last five games. Kane is only four points away from matching is totals between the Sabres and Sharks combined last season.
The third-line that has become the fourth-line. The Nordstrom-Frederic-Backes line has been terrible. While Trent Frederic has been decent on the faceoff dot, but the trio has zero points combined in their last five games and they have not generated much offence at all. Joakim Nordstrom doesn’t have a single point scored in fifteen games now.
Not many players on the San Jose Sharks are having bad years as most of them are in the middle of one of their best seasons as an NHL hockey player. Tomas Hertl has had a great season, scoring 26-27-53 numbers in 54 games in 2018-19, but has no points in his last two games and is a combined -5 rating within that time span. Don’t expect this to last long as he is one of the better forwards to score on this roster.
Other than that, both teams are hot and have good players that are producing quite well – making this game all the more enjoyable and fun to watch.
- D Zdeno Chara is two goals away (198) from 200 career NHL goals
- F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
- F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
San Jose Sharks:
- D Marc-Eduard Vlasic is two points away (298) from 300 career NHL points
- F Kevin Lebanc is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points
- F Melker Karlsson is three points (97) from 100 career NHL points
- D Brendan Dillion is four points (96) from 100 career NHL points
- D Brent Burns is one game away (567) from tying Owen Nolan (568) for 9th most games played in Sharks history
- F Tomas Hertl is one even-strength goal away (81) from tying Marco Sturm (82) for most even-strength goals in Sharks history
Bruins vs Sharks Outlook
This is the first meeting between the Bruins and Sharks this season, with the second game coming next week on February 26th. Last season, the Bruins kept the Sharks to a combined two goals in the two games, beating the San Jose club in both games.
For the speciality teams, the Bruins still have one of the best power-plays in the NHL. Their 26.5% power-play percentage is the best in the league behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning while on the penalty-kill, the B’s have a mediocre percentage there, 80.7% for 15th in the NHL.
For San Jose, they are the 6th best NHL team when on the man-advantage with a 24% success rate and have the 6th best penalty-kill success rate as well, killing off 82.5% of the penalties they take on average. The Sharks also shoot the puck a lot, the 2nd most on average in the National Hockey League, averaging just under 34 shots per game.
Puck drop is scheduled for 10pm EST at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Below are the lines during morning skate for the Bruins ahead of tonight’s contest.