Bruins

Marchand's OT goal helps Bruins beat Sharks, 2-1

Marchand's OT goal helps Bruins beat Sharks, 2-1

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Even a week off for a bye couldn't slow the rolling Boston Bruins under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.

Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway with 2:24 left in overtime and the Bruins picked up where they left off before their break by winning their fourth straight game, 2-1 over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.

"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. It wasn't always pretty, but we got the two points. That's all that matters."

Ryan Spooner also scored for the Bruins, who remain unbeaten since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien. Tuukka Rask made 29 saves as the Bruins became the fourth team out of 20 to win in their first game back from the bye.

"Obviously it's been well documented that teams coming out of the break haven't been winning, so it was good to get this one," said defenseman Torey Krug, who set up the winning goal.

Patrick Marleau scored the lone goal for the Sharks, who have lost six of eight games heading into their bye week. Four of those losses came in overtime and another in a shootout, giving San Jose nine points during the span. Martin Jones made 25 saves.

San Jose heads into the break with a five-point lead in the Pacific Division over Edmonton and Anaheim

"We're pretty happy to be where we're at," Marleau said. "It's a good spot heading into the break, we're pretty happy with that. Obviously, there's some games you wish you could get back and get those points, but we're still in a good spot."

The winning play started on a faceoff in the Bruins' defensive zone. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff back to Krug, who sent a stretch pass up ice that Marchand retrieved behind the Sharks defense. He skated in all alone on Jones and beat him for his 25th goal of the season.

"We just try to read where the D was set up and Torey made a great play to get it up there after Bergy battled in the draw," Marchand said. "Luckily it kind of worked out for us."

While teams coming out of the bye week have struggled this season with a 3-12-4 record coming into Sunday, the Bruins opened the game with much more energy than the Sharks, who were playing for the second straight night after a win in Arizona on Saturday.

Frank Vatrano had a good chance early that Jones stopped, but the third line cashed in later in the opening period when Jimmy Hayes took a pass from Adam McQuaid at the point and shot it wide. Spooner recovered the puck off the back boards and tucked it into the open net for the first goal of the game.

The Sharks found their legs in the second period and nearly tied it when Brent Burns hit the post before finally getting the equalizer thanks to a fortunate bounce during 4-on-4 play. Burns' point shot was blocked by Krug and the puck went straight to Marleau, who shot it into the open net for his 21st goal of the season late in the second.

NOTES: Burns had 20 shot attempts, but only seven were on net. He had nine shots blocked and four were off target. ... Hayes recorded his 100th career point with his assist on Spooner's goal. ... Marleau tied Joe Mullen for 43rd place all-time with his 502nd career goal. ... Krug played his 300th career game.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Visit Anaheim on Wednesday.

Sharks: Visit Vancouver on Saturday after five-day bye.

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

TORONTO – The Bruins top line totaled up 20 points in the first two games, and the B’s took both of those against the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had zero points in Game 3 on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, and the Bruins ended up dropping that game to the Leafs. 

So clearly the Bruins’ playoff fate could be strongly tied to the ebbs and flow of their top forward trio, but the hope with the B’s is that the formula won’t be that simple throughout the postseason. A big part of the reason the Bruins gave up a boatload to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash was to acquire another forward capable of shouldering a scoring load, and turn Boston’s second line into a much more dangerous group. 

All three members of the B’s second line, David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk, all have goals during the best-of-seven series, but they also came up empty in Game 3 with Krejci and DeBrusk only managing two shots on net between them. They know that they’re capable of more given the offensive talent on the ice, and given that so much defensive attention is being paid to neutralizing Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak rather than them. 

“We had lots of good looks. I missed a couple. We had lots of good looks that just didn’t go in,” said Krejci. “So we need to work extra harder [in Game 4] to bury those chances and have them end up in the back of the net. We need to stick to the game plan and respect the game plan.”

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Nash had five shots on net and some pretty good chances, but the best scoring chance was a DeBrusk dangle and pass to Krejci wide open at the net. It looked like the puck hit a rut on the ice and Krejci was never able to settle it down for a shot despite the nice-looking pass, so that line is left biding their team for another chance to carry the offense. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we’re the second line. We all have attributes that can help this team. It hasn’t really come to the table yet, but I still thought that we generated chances [in Game 3], and I think our whole team did. It just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said DeBrusk. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you take the positives from it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to get harder from here on in. Hopefully our top line does their thing, but if not then we’ll be ready to hopefully help out in that category.”

The Bruins top line is ready, willing and able to shoulder the lion’s share of the scoring burden for the Black and Gold, and most nights they’re going to be able to live up to that kind of responsibility. But if the Bruins want to beat the good defensive teams and become a much more difficult team to play against in the postseason, they’re going to need to start getting production from a second line that should be built to play the power, puck possession game in the postseason.

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

TORONTO – At some point, they’re going to have to start thinking about re-naming the award after Patrice Bergeron himself.

The Bruins center was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy on Wednesday night for the seventh consecutive season, and is going for his NHL-record fifth trophy for being the best defensive forward in the NHL. Bergeron was named a finalist along with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. Bergeron finished his 12th NHL season with 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points with 26 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 64 games.

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He ranked fifth in the league in faceoff win percentage (57.3, min. 1,000 face-offs), 12th in face-offs won (784), third in even strength faceoff win percentage (58.0, min. 500 face-offs won) and first in shorthanded faceoff win percentage (58.3, min. 50 face-offs won). The 32-year-old forward also ranked second overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), with a 57.56%, which should make the fancy stat nerds very happy.

Some might argue there other more worthy candidates given that Bergeron missed 18 games due to injury this season, but he was also the center of a line that didn’t give up an even strength goal until January while putting up his customarily excellent stats. That being said, a guy like Aleksander Barkov also deserved plenty of consideration outside the top-3 finalists that all come in with equally strong chances of taking home the award.

Bergeron has won the Selke in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. If he wins the year's Selke Trophy, he will break the record held by four-time winner and Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famer Bob Gainey. The Selke Award is given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season, and will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20.

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