Ward short-circuits Sharks
Bruins end trip with last-minute victory
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Thanks to some near-flawless netminding from Tim Thomas, the Bruins capped their road trip with a 2-1 win over San Jose last night before a sellout crowd of 17,496 at the HP Pavilion.
Sharks forward Milan Michalek tied the game with 38.1 seconds remaining. But ex-Shark Marco Sturm, doing some fierce forechecking with Patrice Bergeron, set up Aaron Ward for a one-timer that the defenseman fired past goalie Evgeni Nabokov with 13.3 ticks remaining in regulation.
It was Ward's second goal in as many nights.
The Bruins concluded their season-opening five-game West Coast swing with a 3-2 record. They open at TD Banknorth Garden against Tampa Bay Thursday.
"There's no doubt we'd like to come home with a winning record," coach Claude Julien said before the game. "It's important to put ourselves in a position to do that.
"It hasn't been an easy road trip. If we could get a good win here tonight, that would make this trip a positive one."
During the second period, the Bruins didn't manage a single shot on Nabokov, failing to penetrate the Sharks' stand-up defense.
But because of a first-period Boston goal and some stellar netminding from Thomas (13 saves in the second period, 26 overall), the Bruins still held a 1-0 advantage after 40 minutes despite their lack of production in the middle frame.
The Sharks applied some heavy pressure in the second period, especially during their third power play. Ward, who was called for hooking at 1:17, went off again at 3:38 when he was called for delay of game for putting the puck into the stands.
On the following power play, the Sharks kept Boston's penalty-killing foursome of Andrew Ference, Andrew Alberts, P.J. Axelsson, and Chuck Kobasew on the ice for nearly the entire two minutes. But Thomas stood tall, bailing out his penalty-killers whenever the Sharks shook their checks.
Thomas got some help from his net later in the second period. After the Sharks killed off a penalty to defenseman Craig Rivet, captain Patrick Marleau took off down the right wing. Marleau pulled a pass between his legs to teammate Michalek, and the San Jose forward rang a wrist shot off the left post.
Thomas recovered just in time to stuff forward Steve Bernier's rebound attempt at 8:57. Thomas, who entered last night having allowed only three goals in his two previous starts, continued his solid play, making a blocker stop when defenseman Matt Carle joined the rush for a good scoring chance in the slot.
Late in the period, Thomas got his glove on a close-range attempt by Michalek.
The Bruins scored the only goal of the first period. On the play, Zdeno Chara fired a one-timer that Nabokov partially blocked. Nabokov sprawled onto the ice, trying to freeze the puck under his left pad. But Bergeron, paying the price in the slot area, fished the puck out from under Nabokov's leg and jammed it into the net at 16:23. It was Bergeron's third goal of the season and his first even-strength tally.
Sturm, making his first appearance in San Jose since the Nov. 30, 2005, trade that brought him to Boston, was credited with an assist on Bergeron's goal.
The start of the game was delayed because of a power outage at the HP Pavilion. According to a Sharks official, the problem was internal, as no other buildings in the area were affected.
The arena went completely dark for roughly a second at approximately 7:06 p.m. local time during warm-ups.
Emergency lighting came on, allowing both teams to complete warm-ups, but the scoreboard was out for several minutes.
The opening faceoff took place at 7:59 p.m.
The outage knocked out the public address system for the start of the first period, so there was no national anthem and no in-game announcements until approximately 10 minutes into the opening frame.
Last night was Boston's fifth and final game of the season-opening road trip. They entered last night with two wins (beating Los Angeles and Phoenix) and two losses (to Anaheim and Dallas).