Bruins fall short
Third-period rally killed by Sharks
Coaches and players often say that hockey is a game of mistakes. Last night before 17,565 at TD Garden, both teams committed errors. It’s just that San Jose turned Boston mistakes into quick-strike goals in a 4-2 victory.
Early in the first period, David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk couldn’t execute a clean exchange along the wall. Moments later, Joe Pavelski beat Tim Thomas high to his glove side.
In the second, three Bruins were caught behind their goal line, which resulted in an unmarked Logan Couture winging a shot past Thomas.
The Bruins rallied for two third-period goals in 29 seconds. But one final error did them in.
Former Boston College standout Benn Ferriero hunted down a loose puck in the left corner. After Ferriero outraced Steven Kampfer to the puck, the Essex native sent a pass back up the wall. As Jim Vandermeer wound up to shoot, Ferriero sprinted toward the net. Thomas stopped Vandermeer’s shot, but Ferriero, who had barreled through Kampfer, was in place to swat home the rebound at 8:48 of the third period for the decisive goal.
Patrick Marleau added an empty-net goal at 19:55.
“It’s the quality of what we’re giving,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “The winning goal is a guy coming out of the corner and not being boxed out. He walks right through, picks up the loose puck, and scores the winner. Those mistakes aren’t the type of mistakes you should make at that time of the game.’’
The Bruins pushed their hardest in the third period. By then, they were trailing by two goals. But it took just one shift by the No. 2 line of Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly, and Tyler Seguin to produce a pair of goals.
Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi went behind the net to play the puck. But Niemi flubbed a pass to his teammates, which allowed Kelly to hone in on the forecheck and cause the turnover. The puck caromed off several bodies, and squirted behind Niemi after he tried to kick it aside. Lucic, crashing the net, batted in the puck at 2:43. It was his second goal in two games. Lucic had gone without a goal for the first six games.
The Kelly line remained on the ice for the following faceoff. They didn’t need much time to score the equalizer. The Sharks had control of the puck and tried to start the breakout along the boards in the defensive zone. But the Boston forwards swarmed toward the puck and forced a turnover. With several quick dishes by Kelly and Seguin, the puck landed on Lucic’s stick as the big boy steamed down the left wing.
The backtracking Sharks couldn’t retreat in time to fend off the rush. Lucic sent a cross-crease pass to Seguin, who had little trouble roofing the puck over a helpless Niemi at 3:12.
“He did a good job turning the puck over and moving it up,’’ Lucic said of his teenage linemate. “We caught them flat-footed. He kept going. It was a 2 on 0, and I knew I had the goalie frozen to make that pass. [Seguin] made no mistake.’’
But the Bruins couldn’t push through for the go-ahead goal. They had several sniffs - a close-range Daniel Paille shot might have been the best bid - but couldn’t solve Niemi (37 saves).
In hindsight, perhaps the Bruins had used up too much fuel trying to scratch out of their two-goal hole.
The Sharks had a chance off the opening draw. Joe Corvo threw a careless pass to the front of the net on the first shift. Ferriero put a point-blank shot on goal that Thomas stuffed. Jamie McGinn had a follow-up bid that sailed over the net.
Less than a minute later, the Sharks took advantage of the Bruins’ sputtering start. Joe Thornton stepped between Krejci’s off-the-boards pass to Boychuk. Thornton, one of the league’s best dishers, sent a quick pass to Pavelski in the high slot. Pavelski, going one on one against Andrew Ference, snapped a riser over Thomas at 1:12.
In the second, the Sharks doubled their lead after a lost puck battle in the Boston zone. Dennis Seidenberg and Ryane Clowe were fighting for the puck along the end boards. Corvo strayed behind the goal line to support Seidenberg. Just as Corvo approached, Martin Havlat fished the puck out of the scrum and spotted Couture open in the slot. Before Krejci could seal off the seam, Havlat dished a backhand pass to Couture. With no Bruins in sight, Couture beat Thomas to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
“Couple of mental mistakes that you see often in games - coverage and stuff like that - that ended up being costly,’’ said Julien. “Defensively, we didn’t give them much. But when we did, some mistakes were made that ended up costing us. At the other end, we had some open nets. We had some great chances. Right now, we’re not burying them. That’s being ready to do that. It’s a challenge for us right now. It’s frustrating. If you look at the whole game, it wasn’t a bad game from our part of it. We had lots of chances. At the end of the night, we didn’t capitalize enough.’’