Antti Niemi

Sharks suffer second home regulation loss, first home shutout to Bruins

Joe Pavelski SJ SharksNot for lack of trying, but the Sharks failed to put a single puck past Tukka Rask in Saturday night’s battle with the Boston Bruins. The East is pretty weak this year, so it’s no surprise that the team that snuck past San Jose 1-0 is leading the Atlantic Conference, albeit with 60 points. Still, it was Rask who made the difference in what will hopefully be one of SAP’s only snoozers this season.

Okay, so snoozer is a little bit harsh. This game exhibited stellar goaltending from start to Finnish (get it? get it? I’ll show myself out shortly), and as we’ve come to expect when Boston comes to town, there was plenty of physical play to go around. Rask and Antti Niemi combined to stop 46 shots, and the only goal San Jose allowed came on a fairly fluky deflection. Joe Thornton, Andrew Desjardins and Tommy Wingels all tried to match physicality with the Bruins, who always seem to bring a bruising game along with them when they travel. Boston had the edge in hits, but only by a margin of 28-27.

Would this matchup look any different with the Sharks at playoff projected strength? If San Jose has to face Boston again, it will be in a possible Stanley Cup Final, and at that point they would have Logan Couture, Raffi Torres and Martin Havlat back. Even with reinforcements though, it’s hard to say the outcome would be any different. Boston plays a disciplined game (San Jose only enjoyed one power play opportunity) and they’re second in the league with 2.13 goals allowed per game. Those kind of teams make for offensive nightmares, and quite frankly, that Stanley Cup would be boring as all hell.

The bright side? This is San Jose’s second regulation loss of the season at home, which means they’re carrying over the home-ice momentum they enjoyed last season. Given that they weren’t facing a divisional or even conference opponent, this isn’t the worst loss in the world. The Sharks simply fell victim to a fantastic goalie on the wrong night.

As for San Jose’s goalie?

“From our perspective, there’s some goals sometimes that we’d like to have back,” Todd McLellan said. “I think from your perspective, we’d like to fill a little more of the paper up and the ink and write some stories, so we go digging … Nemo’s been fine.”

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