Given how cryptic the Sharks generally are with their injury reports, it isn't particularly surprising that we're not sure what exactly is ailing winger Brent Burns beyond the "sore gums" Todd McLellan referred to on Monday. But whatever it is will keep him out of game action when the Sharks take on the Bruins in Boston tomorrow.
Per McLellan, Burns confirmed out tomorrow. Niemi starting vs. #Bruins— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) October 23, 2013
Burns' absence, compounded by the injury to Dan Boyle (not to mention long-term injuries to Martin Havlat and Raffi Torres) makes the Sharks significantly less dangerous than the offensive juggernaut that opened the season. We received a taste of their now-muted attack against the Red Wings on Monday when the team managed just 27 shots on goal and 9 scoring chances in a game that went scoreless through regulation and overtime, both of which were uncharacteristically low totals given their offensive dominance so far in 2013-14.
But they found a way to win, courtesy a stingy defense and some help from Antti Niemi (it was basically February 2013 all over again) and they'll need to do the same sans Burns and Boyle against an excellent Bruins team tomorrow and possibly against two other very good teams in Montreal and Ottawa over the coming weekend.
The silver lining to all this, of course, is that rookie Freddie Hamilton gets to remain in the lineup and, in just his second career NHL game, will face his younger brother Dougie of the Bruins. It should make for a fun storyline and a great moment for the Hamilton family, who might even decide to start calling their 21- and 20-year-old sons normal adult names like Fred and Doug after this one. In all seriousness, Freddie will likely skate in Burns' spot on Joe Thornton's right wing once again. Assuming Claude Julien deploys his shutdown pair of Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk against Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, there should be a good deal of on-ice brotherly rivalry with Boston's second pair of Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg drawing Thornton.