Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and San Jose Sharks locked into a scoreless game after the first 20 minutes of play at the SAP Center.
1) Good bounce-back period for Tuukka Rask, who made 12 saves and stood tall for a Bruins defensemen crew that experienced some substantial issues breaking the puck out of the defensive zone. His kick save on Brent Burns from the high slot, and a subsequent glove save on Tommy Wingels were his best.
2) Not enough zone time for the Bruins, who didn’t have sustained possession in the offensive zone or second and third shot chances on Antti Niemi. It’s been one shot and then right back out of the Sharks zone again.
3) Ryan Spooner with a pair of shots on net and 2-for-2 on face-offs in the first period. It’s pretty clear he’s trying to show everything he can to stick around in Boston when everybody gets healthy.
4) Six registered hits for Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic in the first period, as it’s pretty clear they came out looking to help set a physical tone in the first period against the Sharks. The Bruins clearly want this game in a bad way, but they’re going to play just as smart as they played hard in the first period.
5) Impressive period from former UMass defenseman Justin Braun, who played 8:03 with a couple of shots on net, and three takeaways from the Bruins in just the first 20 minutes of the game. He’s become something of a workhorse in San Jose after a solid, unspectacular collegiate career.
1) Bruins and the Sharks with a combined 13 shots on net in the second period. Not a ton of open ice for anybody to create offense with, and no real sustained pressure from the Bruins. It looks like one of those games where the first goal scored wins.
2) Patrice Bergeron smacked a shot into the post with Antti Niemi down and out in the second period in the best scoring chance for the Bruins. Those have otherwise been difficult to come by for the Black and Gold.
3) Nineteen saves for Tuukka Rask, who has made some very difficult saves in a game where it’s pretty apparent one goal could make all the difference in the world for the two points. He certainly looks a lot calmer between the pipes as well after looking a little too energetic and jittery in the first two games against the Ducks and Kings.
4) Good scrap with Kevan Miller and Mike Brown after some physical play from the B’s rookie defenseman. Miller caught Brown with a couple of big hits at the end of the tilt, and then tossed Brown down to the ice in his first NHL fight. He continues to impress me after blowing Andrew Desjardins off the puck earlier in the game in a textbook defensive play.
5) No shots but two takeaways for Loui Eriksson in 9:37 of ice time through two periods. He’s been involved in the play, but he’s also keeping himself out of the vulnerable spots he’s been prone to getting himself into with the Bruins thus far this season. Just seeing him on the ice has been a very good thing.
1) The Bruins new look third line came through for them on Saturday night. Ryan Spooner once again created with his speed, and put San Jose defenseman Kevin Hannan on his heels, and that allowed him to get Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson involved. Eventually Spooner centered to Eriksson, and his shot on net bounced off Hannan’s skate and right to Soderberg. The Big Swede banged it home for his sixth goal of the season and the Bruins took advantage of a fortunate bounce. Ten assists for Spooner on the season in 18 games as he continues to create offense.
2) Great shutout effort from Tuukka Rask, who stopped 24 San Jose shots in a resounding statement after a couple of disappointing games against the Ducks and Kings. He couldn’t afford to make a mistake in this game, and he never did against a heavy, competitive Sharks club.
3) Good to see Loui Eriksson pick up an assist in his first game back with 13:08 of ice time, and play his smart, calm responsible two-way game throughout the contest after a month of inactivity.
4) Excellent game for Tommy Wingels, who had two very good chances to score in the third period and a game-high 10 registered hits. Wingels actually missed on a chance from the slot off a nice Patrick Marleau feed from behind the net, and that opened the door for Soderberg’s goal just a little bit later.
5) Gritty game from Matt Bartkowski with three blocked shots and three hits, and that included throwing his body in front of the potential game-tying shot in the final minutes of the third period. The Bruins will need more of that if they have hopes for their defensemen crew to make up for the loss of Dennis Seidenberg.