Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose
SAN JOSE – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – With all the talk of teams coming out of their five-day break struggling the first game back, the Boston Bruins managed just fine on Sunday.Brad Marchand scored a breakaway goal 2:36 into overtime as Bruins sent the San Jose Sharks into their five-day break with a 2-1 setback at SAP Center.
Patrice Bergeron won a defensive-zone draw from San Jose’s Joe Thornton and Torey Krug lofted a lead pass to a breaking Marchand, who slipped his team-leading 25th goal of the season under the pads of Sharks goalie Martin Jones.
“I was worrying about winning the faceoff,” Bergeron said. “We saw the opening in the middle of the ice, and we know how fast Brad is, so he was trying to beat his guy, and it worked out perfectly.”
The Sharks lost for the sixth time in eight games, but have picked up points in seven of those games to hold a five-point lead over Edmonton and Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
“You look over the first half-to-three quarters of the season we thought we might go through a little Stanley Cup hangover, but I think we handled it pretty well,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said. “Leading the division is where we want to be. We’ve let a few points slide lately, but we played pretty hard tonight.”
Boston, meanwhile, is 4-0 under new coach Bruce Cassidy, including two wins over San Jose.
“The guys responded to the change,” Cassidy said. “Everyone has their own reason why. I’m just glad that they have. We recognize if we want to play into late spring we have to win our share our games. We’ve been able to do that the last four.”
“Obviously, the offense has been great in the past three games we won, but then again we’ve been skating and battling defensively and trying to close teams quickly, and I think that continued today,” added Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 29 saves. “Even though they had some momentum, we never panicked and we stuck with it.”
The Sharks’ focus afterward was clearly on their five days away from the ice. San Jose doesn’t play again until Saturday at Vancouver.
The message is clear: get rest, come back recharged and buckle up. The Sharks will finish off the regular season with 21 games in 43 days.
“It’s about as good as you can ask for, you get your Christmas break, your All-Star break and a few weeks later we were looking at this one,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. “We have to use it as best we can, we’ve got a busy schedule coming up after it.”
“We’ve got to take advantage of it, get our rest here and get back to work,” Sharks forward Patrick Marleau added. “It’s a good time for a break, we’re pretty happy with it. Obviously, there’s a few games you wish you could get back and get those points.”
The Sharks drew even with a goal late in the second period as the teams skated four-on-four.
Roughing penalties to San Jose’s Brenden Dillon and Boston’s Riley Nash at 17:05 helped to open the ice, and the hosts pounced with Marleau scoring his 21st goal of the season just 32 seconds later.
Brent Burns delayed at the top of the right circle, and when the defenseman finally wristed a drive toward the net, Krug stepped out and deflected it right to an unmarked Marleau at the bottom of the left circle.
Marleau punched home his ninth goal in 13 games and moved into a tie for 43rd place with Joe Mullen on the NHL list with his 502nd career goal.
The Bruins scored the only goal of the opening period, taking advantage of San Jose’s poor net-front coverage just past the midway point of the session.
Boston center Ryan Spooner was all alone at the right post to gather a hard carom off the end boards and deposit his ninth goal of the season into an open net at?11:05. Jones was caught out trying to poke-check Jimmy Hayes, whose turnaround shot from in front went just wide.
“This is a really hard building to win in and they’ve been playing well lately,” Marchand said. “With five days off it’s not easy to come back here and feel good. But we battled hard. It wasn’t always pretty but we got the two points. That’s all that matters.”
NOTES: Bruins D Torey Krug appeared in his 300th career game. … The Sharks begin their five-day break and don’t play again until Feb. 25 at Vancouver. … Boston continues a four-game road trip at Anaheim on Wednesday. … San Jose G Martin Jones made his 50th start of the season. … Bruins LW Tim Schaller jumped into the lineup on the fourth line replacing LW Matt Beleskey, who was a healthy scratch along with D Jed Morrow and D John-Michael Liles. C Austin Czarnik remains out with a lower-body injury. … LW Joonas Donskoi (upper body) hopes to return for the first game after San Jose’s break. D Dylan DeMelo remains out with a broken wrist. … LW Marcus Sorensen and D Mirco Mueller were healthy scratches for the Sharks.