Sharks-Bruins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 24, 2013
The San Jose Sharks are the NHL's last remaining team without a regulation loss. It's been over a decade since they experienced one on the road against the Boston Bruins. The Sharks look to continue their outstanding start by winning a fifth straight visit to Boston on Thursday night. San Jose (8-0-1) has been the league's most impressive team in the first three weeks. The Sharks lead the NHL with 17 points, have scored the most goals (40) and only two of their victories have come by a margin of one goal, including Monday's 1-0 shootout win at Detroit to open this five-game road trip. "We scored a lot of goals in our first eight games. We're not going to keep scoring like that," said Logan Couture, who netted the only goal in the tiebreaker. It would seem a matchup with the Bruins (6-2-0), particularly on the road, would be an ideal way for the Sharks to keep rolling. San Jose is 4-0-1 in its last five meetings with Boston, and has four wins and a tie over its last five games at TD Garden since a loss there on Dec. 23, 2002. However, the Sharks' most recent visit came on Oct. 22, 2011, and the teams haven't met at all since March 22, 2012, due to the lockout that shortened last season. One of the keys to the Sharks' fast start has been their depth, with 10 players scoring two goals or more. Patrick Marleau is tied for the team lead with seven, recording at least one point in the first eight games before that streak was halted Monday. He has nine points in his last six games at Boston. Rookie Tomas Hertl also has seven goals, but only one in six games since he scored four against the New York Rangers on Oct. 8. Besides leading the NHL with 4.33 goals per game, San Jose's defense has been just as impressive, allowing 16 goals. Antti Niemi has played the biggest role in that success, compiling a 1.64 goals-against average. He stopped 24 shots and turned aside three shootout attempts in Monday's win. Niemi is 5-0-0 with a 1.77 GAA and one shutout lifetime against the Bruins. Boston returns home after outscoring opponents 13-4 while sweeping a three-game trip to Florida, Tampa Bay and Buffalo. The Bruins took advantage of the reeling Sabres on Wednesday, getting two goals apiece from Milan Lucic and Torey Krug in a 5-2 victory. The win, though, may have come at a high cost with forward Loui Eriksson leaving the game after he was blindsided with a hit to the head by John Scott in the third period. Eriksson remained in Buffalo under observation, and Scott is expected to face a disciplinary hearing with the league. "He's out there for two reasons and that's either to fight or hurt," coach Claude Julien said of the Sabres' enforcer. "So he did his job." With backup Chad Johnson winning his season debut Wednesday, Tuukka Rask is likely to be back in net for this game. Rask has allowed more than two goals only once in his seven starts and is third in the league with a 1.29 GAA. He's never faced the Sharks. San Jose's Joe Thornton, who spent his first seven seasons with the Bruins, has two goals and three assists in seven games against his former team.
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