Just as the second frame was about to start Thursday night , a camera shot of Tommy Wingels came up on the cube above center ice. The home team was trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes, and the ice was heavily tilted in the visiting Bruins’ favor. Per usual when the Sharks are trailing, Wingels wore a wild man wide-eyed expression. I was about to tweet something about how he wasn’t going to blink until San Jose was on the board, but Number 57 beat me to it with a snipe past goaltender Tuuka Rask to cut Boston’s early lead in half 2-1.
It was the start of an assault by the Team Teal to end this homestand on a high note. Wingels was one of three players who registered two goals in Thursday’s raucous 7-4 victory over the tough Bruins team. It was the Sharks third win in a row, the first time all season that they’ve strung together that many victories.
“You’re only as good as your latest game,” Wingels insisted, “and fortunately for us, it’s three wins in a row. We can feel good about ourselves.”
Head coach Todd McLellan echoed that sentiment. “Today was a good morale boost — fall behind and then come back. And really have everyone contribute, it was a good thing for the team.”
What made the victory even more impressive was the high score. Everyone from the team to members of the media — and probably many fans — expected a low-scoring defensive tilt between these two teams. What they got was quite different. “Sometimes that happens, when you expect one thing, it can completely go awry,” McLellan explained. “I’d hoped we wouldn’t give up four, but I wasn’t sure we could get to seven.”
Falling behind early is bad enough, let alone against a good team like the Bruins. The visitors notched their first goal on the evening 29 seconds into the first frame. Patrice Bergeron hit Reilly Smith, who wristed the puck behind defenseman Justin Braun and then Antti Niemi to find the back of San Jose’s net. Another defensive misstep by Braun led to Boston’s second goal, and suddenly the Sharks were in danger of getting in too deep of a hole.
Since the Sharks would eventually take control of the game and pull out the win, Braun wasn’t too hard on himself after the game when talking about his troubles on the ice. “Guys bailed me out. I think I might have to pick up dinner for a few of them tonight.”
That second 20-minute frame was when the Sharks took over. “It took us a little bit to get going,” said Joe Pavelski, one of the three players to notch two goals on the evening. “We (had) a big second (period) and then things got going from there.”
The period at a glance: Following Wingels’ stanza-opening goal, James Sheppard backhander off Tyler Kennedy’s skate beat Rask. Kennedy was credited with the goal the as the Sharks tied the game up at 2-2, less than five minutes into the frame. On their next power play, Wingels redirected a shot by Matt Irwin and gave San Jose their first lead of the evening. The lead didn’t last long. Not a minute later, Smith tallied his second goal on the evening on the next shift to tie things back up. Torey Krug put the Bruins back on top 4-3, but a penalty on Dennis Seidenberg put San Jose back on the man advantage where they had been successful all evening. Pavelski’s wrister found the back of the net on that power play to knot the game up at 4-4 before heading into the second intermission.
Heading into the final frame tied after an eventful second period didn’t slow the Sharks down. Kennedy, fresh off a stint on IR, gave San Jose the lead back in the start of the third, registering his second goal and giving the Sharks the 5-4 advantage. Pavelski added to the lead when he motored around Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton and launched the puck past Rask, increasing the lead 6-4. Tomas Hertl added more cushion when he got possession of a rebound off the boards and chipped it past the beaten-up Rask to give San Jose the 7-4 decision.
So: Three home wins in a row, heading into a back-to-back roadie weekend against Calgary and Edmonton. The team must be feeling confident heading on the road, right?
“This team can easily string together eight or nine wins in a row,” Wingels said. “Why can’t this be the start of one of those streaks?”