The San Jose Sharks had every reason to pack it in early in Boston Sunday morning. Less than five minutes into the 10 a.m. PT start, the Sharks were already trailing 2-0 to the Bruins’ high-powered offense.
But the team battled back and made it a game. There were plenty of positives to take away from the 4-3 loss.
“I thought that battling back at the end was important. We talked about that in between the second and third, is trying to get back to a little bit of our identity so we could at least take that into the Nashville game and see what happens in this game,” said Boughner.
Though the Sharks fell short, Boughner was pleased with the response from his team.
“I thought the guys battled hard. They stuck up for each other in battles, we were physical,” said Boughner. “It was just tough to get down three nothing against this team and battle back. You wish you had five more minutes on the clock.”
Stick to the game plan
Fatigue played a part in the loss. As Boughner pointed out after the game, this is the Sharks’ fifth game in eight nights. That, coupled with the early start and recent travel, left the Sharks with very little in the tank.
Players refused to use fatigue as an excuse. Instead, many of them said they lost their identity early on, but returned to it in the third period.
“This year we stick together and fight for everybody. That’s why almost tied the game. I’m still very proud of our team,” said Tomas Hertl. “When we stick to our game, we can face anybody.”
Goaltender Adin Hill was pulled after Boston’s fourth goal early in the second period. He pointed to Jacob Middleton’s fight with Trent Frederic at 3:02 of the third period as a turning point.
“The first two periods, I don’t think really we played to our identity. We weren’t playing our game,” said Hill. “In the third period there, we kind of clicked together after that fight and we almost got a point out of it. We only played 10 minutes to our identity tonight and we almost got a point.”
Early start for Boston
Boston’s top line jumped on the Sharks early in the game. Brad Marchand scored 28 seconds in with assists from David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. Defenseman Derek Forbort gave the Bruins a two-goal lead less than three minutes later when his shot from the point got past Adin Hill. Connor Clifton and Marchand notched the assists.
San Jose settled things down after that and regained their footing, but a bad interference penalty by Brent Burns late in the first period allowed Boston’s power play to get on the ice. Pastrnak scored 13 seconds into the man-advantage. Bergeron had the primary assist on the play and it was 3-0, Bruins. Pastrnak’s goal was the first power play goal the Sharks have allowed all season.
At this point, the Sharks could have folded, but sometimes youth is what you need. Jasper Weatherby didn’t let the score deter him. He put the puck past Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark to give the Sharks a little bit of life. Forwards Jonah Gadjovich and Andrew Cogliano were credited with assists, marking Gadjovich’s first point as a Shark.
The Sharks headed to the locker room down 3-1 after one period.
In the second period, there was only one goal. Jake DeBrusk scored with help from Forbort and Oskar Steen. That was enough to chase Hill. James Reimer entered the game with 14:19 remaining in the second period.
Reimer went perfect for the remainder of the game. He stopped all 20 shots he faced in relief. His solid play in the net was part of the reason the Sharks could come back later in the game.
As mentioned earlier, the Middleton scrapped with Frederic early in the third period. That gave the Sharks a little life. It finally paid off at 13:19 of the third period, when Hertl put the puck past Ullmark, tipping a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Alexander Barabanov also assisted on the play.
Less than two minutes later, Timo Meier pulled the Sharks within one goal, with assists from Brent Burns and Logan Couture.
The Sharks pulled Reimer with just under two minutes left in the game. They had some scoring chances, but never managed to get that tying goal. Ullmark and the Bruins eked out the win.
Barabanov, Gadjovich debut for Sharks
This game marked the first of the season for Barabanov and Gadjovich. Lane Pederson and William Eklund sat out.
The Sharks snagged Gadjovich off of waivers during the preseason from the Vancouver Canucks. His grit showed early in the game. Boughner said he was happy with the way “Gad” played on the Weatherby line.
Barabanov didn’t receive the same praise. Boughner said it looked the game was “going fast” for Barabanov.
The Sharks will finish the road trip in Nashville on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Puck drop is at 5:30 p.m. PT.