BOSTON -- A battle between two of the league's top point leaders came to a thrilling conclusion Thursday night. With 0.8 seconds left on the clock, David Krejci redirected an Adam McQuaid slapper from the point, tapping it with the back of his stick blade through goaltender Antti Niemi’s pads for a 2-1 Bruins win over the San Jose Sharks in regulation.
It improved the Bruins' record to 7-2-0 and their win streak to four games.
SLOW START, BUT D STAYS STRONG: The Bruins’ offense got off to a sluggish beginning, unable to hold onto the puck or generate much offense outside of a pair of chances from Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron midway through the first period. Overall for the first period, the Bruins were outshot 16-3, with the top two lines combining for just one shot on goal, with four giveaways.
Defensively, however, it was a strong start. They kept traffic clean in front of goaltender Tuukka Rask for the most part, in spite of the flurry of shots. They blocked nine shots in total in the first, including two from Brad Marchand, and outhit the Sharks 13-9.
IGGY GETS HIS FIRST: Jarome Iginla scored the 531st goal of his career, and first as a Boston Bruin, at 18:48 of the second period, poking a rebound through Antti Niemi’s pads and getting a good bounce off the goaltender’s right skate to snap his shutout streak. The play was made possible by some great hustle from Milan Lucic, who battled the puck away from a Sharks defender, then kept it in play along the boards, backhanding it blindly up the boards to Dennis Seidenberg, who fired from the blue line. Seidenberg’s blast went wide of the net, but Iginla was there at the opposite post.
And so Iginla’s hot streak continues. The winger is 1-3-4 in his last three games, and plus-5 overall. His addition to the top line has worked out well so far; Iginla, Milan Lucic and David Krejci are a combined 8-16-24 and plus-17 following the win.
NO SHUTOUT: Both goalies entered the game coming off shutouts, with Niemi stifling Detroit on Monday and Rask shutting out Tampa Bay in a 5-0 rout on Saturday.
Niemi stopped 15 saves on 17 shots, while Rask put in a yeoman’s workload, stopping 38 of 39 shots to improve his goals against average to .974, second-best in the NHL.
RASK STANDS ON HEAD -- AGAIN: Rask was outstanding in the third period, making some acrobatic saves as the Sharks made another strong surge in the final period. The Sharks came flying out of the gates in the third, getting three good chances in the first two minutes. And while he did give up the first, a Patrick Marleau rebound just 18 seconds into the stanza, Rask was flawless the rest of the way. San Jose outshot the Bruins 14-7 in the final period, and 39-12 overall. With his .974 save percentage, Rask ranks second among goaltenders in the NHL, behind Colorado’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
JULIEN SPEAKS ON ERIKSSON HIT: Bruins head coach Claude Julien was asked about John Scott's hit on Loui Eriksson on Wednesday night that resulted in a concussion for the Bruins right-winger. Buffalo enforcer Scott was suspended indefinitely on Thursday.
“I think it’s important that we try and clean our game up and I think that’s where it’s important to support the league and doing their job,” he said. “As frustrating as it is for a coach to lose players like that -- every coach I’m sure has been through it, or every team has been through it in the league at some point, losing a player for those kinds of reasons -- you have to do your job. And if we want to clean this up, we have to support the league and we have to try and help clean it up versus looking to avenge things.
“I think right now, the most important thing is how do we minimize those kinds of things versus how do we avenge it. And that’s the way I look at it."