BOSTON – After blowing a three-goal lead against the Buffalo Sabres last weekend, it was paramount for the Bruins to show they could protect an advantage against any run-of-the-mill NHL team. So it was mission accomplished on Thursday night when both the Bruins and Anton Khudobin survived a 15-shot San Jose barrage in the final 20 minutes to hold on for a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden.
The Bruins killed penalties, they blocked shots, they executed in the defensive zone and showed they could grit their way to the two points with good, simple execution in front of a goaltender that was locked in for victory. The gritty play was exemplified all the way up and down the lineup between both young and experienced players, and it was particularly important for the young group of Bruins players to show they learned something in the uncomfortable collapse to the Sabres last weekend.
“After that [Buffalo] game we kind of went over it. We just want to stay calm in those situations. We had a bigger lead even last game,” said Brandon Carlo. “This time it was 2-1 and we learned from the experience of letting Buffalo come back. It was good for us to contribute and show that we can [protect a lead].”
- Danton Heinen sends powerful 2-goal reminder he's a top Bruins prospect
- Talking points: Danton Heinen doesn't waste his shot with Bruins
- Rookie Danton Heinen scores 2 goals as Bruins beat Sharks, 2-1
Clearly the Bruins believed they could do it despite getting shaken in the loss to Buffalo, but it also never hurts to see it all play out in your favor on the ice either. The return of Kevan Miller to the Bruins lineup also didn’t hurt after he was missing last weekend against Buffalo, and instead he finished a plus-1 in 20:33 of hard-nosed ice time on Thursday night.
“I thought our battle in front of the net, one of the main areas of focus that we didn’t do well against Buffalo, we really took to heart tonight,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We did a good job boxing out and trying to limit their rebound chances.”
With the confidence a little higher and the execution closer to where it needs to be, now is probably a good time for the schedule to start getting a little busier with two more games coming up over the next four days for the Black and Gold.