The Boston Bruins showed some signs of life last time out to break a losing streak and hope to put back-to-back wins together for the first time this season when they visit the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. The Bruins had dropped four games in a row and seven of nine before grinding out a 2-1 victory at Los Angeles on Thursday with two goals from their blue line.
“I thought we played a much more complete game,” Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who scored along with captain Zdeno Chara, told reporters. “We really wanted to get a win. It’s been a while. We put together a complete 60 minutes.” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told NESN “everybody pulled on the rope (Thursday),” and his team will need the same against the Sharks, who have won six of eight despite struggling on the offensive end of late. San Jose scored nine goals in the last five games, but five of them came in the victory over Vancouver last Saturday and the Sharks came into Friday 26th in the league (2.53) - one spot behind Boston in scoring - after a 2-0 defeat against Florida on Thursday and 29th in shooting percentage (6.05). “It’s because our shots are coming from so far away,” San Jose leading scorer Logan Couture told reporters. “We’re not really getting many chances in the slot where we should be.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), NBCSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (7-7-4): Boston does not have defenseman Torey Krug, along with forwards Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork because of injuries, but got one key performer back as center David Krejci returned Thursday after missing 11 games with an upper-body ailment. No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask has dropped three straight and his save percentage dipped to .897 while backup Anton Khudobin won Thursday, giving him a chance to play again. “We’re going to look at it,” Cassidy told the media. “(Khudobin) played very well against San Jose last time.”
ABOUT THE SHARKS (10-7-0): One of the problems with San Jose’s offense is the power play, which is 0-for-14 over the last five games and 4-for-45 in the past 12 contests as reigning Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns is still seeking his first goal after notching 29 in 2016-17. Couture, who leads the team with 10 goals and 15 points, was kept off the scoresheet Thursday after scoring twice and setting up another in the previous two. Goaltender Martin Jones (.926 save percentage) has limited opponents to two or fewer goals in 10 of his last 11 outings.
1. San Jose captain C Joe Pavelski owns 299 career goals, but is currently in a five-game drought.
2. The Bruins won the last three meetings, including a 2-1 triumph at Boston on Oct. 26 with 36 saves from Khudobin.
3. Sharks D Paul Martin (ankle) could return to the lineup after missing the last 14 contests.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Bruins 3