Bruins end road trip with shutout win over Sharks
|01.12.14 at 1:07 am ET|
Loui Eriksson returned to the Bruins lineup Saturday and helped deliver the team’s only win of a three-game California road trip as the B’s beat the Sharks, 1-0. The win was just the second regulation win of the season for an opponent at the SAP Center.
With the game scoreless late, Eriksson fired a shot from the high slot that deflected off Scott Hannan’s skate and down low to new linemate Carl Soderberg, who buried it to finally get the Bruins on the board.
Eriksson, who had been playing on Patrice Bergeron‘s line when in the lineup this season, returned from his second concussion of the season Saturday and played on the third line with Soderberg and Ryan Spooner.
Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, stood tall after rocky outings against the Ducks and Kings to outduel fellow Finnish Olympian Antti Niemi. The shutout was Rask’s league-leading fifth of the season.
The game saw the return of Eriksson and Shawn Thornton to the lineup after both players missed the last 15 games due to a concussion and a suspension, respectively. The Bruins were without Johnny Boychuk, who was back in Boston to tend to a personal matter.
The Bruins will return to Boston to face the Maple Leafs on Tuesday before heading back out on the road to face the Stars and Blackhawks next week.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– This was a big bounce-back game from Rask, who had either allowed five goals or been pulled in four of his last five starts entering Saturday night. Perhaps the fact that he was facing his competition for the starting gig in Sochi next month got him to raise his game. Either that or it was the fact that good goalies can’t stay cold forever.
– Milan Lucic drew a pair of penalties Saturday night, getting held by Scott Hannan in the second period and drawing the same infraction on Jason Demers in the third. Unfortunately for the B’s, they didn’t end up with anything to show for those power plays.
– The second period has been a problem child for the Bruins this season, but they held the Sharks without a shot on goal for the second half of the period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The B’s managed zero shots on goal in their first two power plays and, in going 0-for-3 on the night, have now gone five games without a power play goal. The Bruins were getting strong production out of both power play units in December, but that seems like a distant memory now.
Ryan Spooner remained on the second power play unit despite the return of Eriksson, which is probably a good move on Claude Julien‘s part given how well that unit’s been able to move the puck with Spooner at times.
– You don’t see Patrice Bergeron have a rough go of it too often in the faceoff dot, but Bergeron went 11-for-27 Saturday.