Beating the Boston Bruins has not only proven to be extremely difficult for the rest of the National Hockey League this season, but doing so apparently makes the B’s very angry.
Since the Seattle Kraken handed the B’s their first regulation loss at the Garden on Jan. 12, the B’s have ripped off five straight victories by a combined score of 21-5.
Their latest victim was the San Jose Sharks at the Garden on Sunday, when they showed just how big of a gap there is between them and those teams like the Sharks who are in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. The B’s got goals from four different players – including two more from their defensemen, who are contributing more and more to the attack – to beat the Sharks, 4-0, and improve their record to 37-5-4.
It was the B’s last game at the Garden until they play the Washington Capitals on Feb. 11, and they made sure their fans were left with fond thoughts of them.
The game started oddly, with Brandon Carlo and Timo Meier deciding they didn’t like each other on the first shift of the game. The two dropped the gloves with Meier eventually wrestling the lanky Carlo to the ice. It was the Sharks’ highlight of the evening.
After that, the B’s appeared ready to gut the drowning Sharks like everyone expected them to in the first period when they skated circles around them – quite literally.
The B’s took a 1-0 lead on Hampus Lindholm’s sixth of the year. Brad Marchand got the play started when he took not one but two tours around the San Jose zone before finally dropping it back to Lindholm at the left point. The defenseman walked the blue line to his right before throwing a move that left Shark Michael Eyssimont in his ice chips out high in the zone. Creating a clear shot from the inside hash marks, Lindholm buried it over James Reimer’s blocker for the 1-0 lead at 7:16. It was the sixth goal scored by a Bruin defenseman in the past five games.
But despite spending a fair amount of time in the San Jose zone, the B’s could not extend the lead in the first period.
The B’s did stretch the advantage early in the second on a 4-on-4, on another brilliant play from one of their defensemen. David Pastrnak dropped a pass for Charlie McAvoy at the Boston blue line and simply got out of his way. McAvoy hit the San Jose zone with speed, played the puck through Meier, took advantage of some defensive indifference from Mario Ferraro and beat Reimer with a pretty backhand-forehand move for his fourth of the year at 4:08.
The 3-0 lead was gained the old fashioned way. The fourth line, which had been perhaps the B’s best line to that point, won puck after puck on the cycle before Nick Foligno eventually deflected home a Lindholm shot at 7:46 for his seventh of the season. Joona Koppanen, who looked like he was determined to hold down the 4C spot while Tomas Nosek is out with a broken foot, picked up the secondary helper for his first NHL point.
Pastrnak added his team-high 36th goal at 2:40 on the power play and the only thing left to accomplish was securing Linus Ullmark the shutout. He had to give way to Jeremy Swayman for 2:28 of ice time after Ullmark lost a skate blade and had to leave for repairs, and made one save on a partial breakaway. But Ullmark (17 saves) did return to earn the clean sheet.