Rask, Bruins present stern test for Sharks in Boston
Joe Thornton, who is tied for the league lead with 10 assists, has five points and is a +4 against the Bruins, his old team. (USATSI)
Programming note: Sharks-Bruins coverage gets underway today at 3:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California
Where they stand
Sharks: 8-0-1, 17 points, 1st Pacific Division, 1st Western Conference
Bruins: 6-2-0, 12 points, 3rd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference
Goals per game: 4.33 (1st)
Goals-against per game: 1.67 (3rd)
Power play: 23.7 percent (7th)
Penalty kill: 86.2 percent (6th)
Goals per game: 3.12 (T – 7th)
Goals-against per game: 1.50 (2nd)
Power play: 13.3 percent (23rd)
Penalty kill: 87.0 percent (4th)
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Freddie Hamiton
Tyler Kennedy – Logan Couture – Patrick Marleau
Matt Nieto – Joe Pavelski – Tommy Wingels
Mike Brown – Andrew Desjardins – John McCarthy
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Brad Stuart
Scott Hannan – Jason Demers
Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Forwards - TBD
Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Sharks: The Sharks skated to a scoreless tie through regulation and overtime with the Detroit Red Wings, but prevailed on Logan Couture’s shootout goal in a 1-0 win on Monday at Joe Louis Arena. Antti Niemi made 24 saves and rookie Freddie Hamilton made his NHL debut in place of an injured Brent Burns. San Jose remains as the only NHL team without a regulation loss.
Bruins: Boston cruised to a road win on Wednesday night in Buffalo, 5-2, in a game that was marred with John Scott’s high hit on Loui Eriksson. The Bruins won their third straight behind two goals each from Milan Lucic and Torey Krug, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton netted the game-winner. Backup Chad Johnson made 14 saves in his first game with the Bruins.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Joe Thornton. The Sharks’ captain’s line, along with Tomas Hertl, looked like it was missing big winger Brent Burns on Monday. Burns will sit for the second straight game with a facial injury, and Freddie Hamilton will likely skate in Burns’ place again. In seven games against his old team, Thornton has 5 points (2g, 3a) and is a +4. He’s currently tied for the league lead with 10 assists, with three others.
Bruins: David Krejci. The Bruins’ center has been skating between Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla, and enters tonight’s game with a five-game point streak (1g, 5a). He’s second on the Bruins in scoring with 8 points (1g, 7a), and is one of the more overlooked players on the defending Eastern champs. He’s scoreless with a -7 rating in five career games against the Sharks, though.
Sharks: Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery), Marty Havlat (pelvic surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery), Brent Burns (face) and Dan Boyle (head into boards) are out.
Bruins: Loui Eriksson (check to the head) is doubtful.
The Bruins will make their only appearance at SAP Center on Jan 11.
San Jose is 9-13-5-1 all-time against Boston, but 5-1-1 since the Joe Thornton trade.
“I think the biggest thing is the toughness. He’s a veteran guy, and has a lot of respect for being a tough guy around the league.” – Logan Couture, talking about new teammate Mike Brown
How much have the Sharks missed Dan Boyle? Leave your answer in the comments section below.