Defending champs finding their game

March 22, 2012, 10:07 pm
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Programming note: Bruins-Sharks coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, and the puck drops at HP Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California

SAN JOSE Its the last game the Sharks will play against an Eastern Conference team this season, and its not going to be easy.

The Boston Bruins (42-27-3, 87 points) are the defending Stanley Cup champions, and based on their play in the last two games, its easy to see why. Sure, the Bruins went through a two-month stretch where wins were hard to come by, but the highly skilled, experienced, and oftentimes downright nasty team has looked lately like its ready to challenge for another title.

On Saturday, the Bruins went into Phillys Wells Fargo Center and came away with a 3-2 shootout victory against another surging club that is among the NHLs best. Then on Monday, Boston demolished a fading Toronto team 8-0 that, despite a brutal second half, is still a division rival.

After having a good game in Philly, and regardless of the score in Toronto, just to see us competing hard and doing the little things right, thats what makes us happy. We like winning more than losing, leading scorer Tyler Seguin said after the Bruins morning skate at HP Pavilion.

Whats been the difference?

Playing more Bruins style hockey. Playing with a chip on our shoulder, going out and competing and winning battles, Seguin said.

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who has been reunited with Zdeno Chara on defense for the last two games, doesnt want the Bruins entering tonights game at The Tank with inflated heads after the Maple Leafs game.

You dont want to go in too high. You want to be focused and smart about where you put pucks, you want to battle hard and skate hard, and once we do that we seem to be fine, usually, Seidenberg said. Thats the same game plan for tonight, and hopefully we can put that on the ice.

Boston expects the 10th-place Sharks (36-27-10, 82 points) to be a desperate team, but the Bruins are playing to hold on to the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They lead the Ottawa Senators by just three points in the Northeast Division, although they do have two games in hand.

Seidenberg said: San Jose is a very desperate team right now looking to get in the playoffs. We are just as desperate trying to stay in the second spot, trying to keep the distance to Ottawa. Its a big game for both teams.