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The Boston Bruins came out to play Thursday night, one night after blowing a comeback against the Anaheim Ducks. With the score tied up 1-1 at the end of regulation and the ovetime period, it all came down to a shootout. Tim Thomas had been playing stellar for the Bruins, but so was the San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who has the second most wins amongst all NHL goalies. With misses by the first three Bruins’ players, Zdeno Chara took his position at the center ice and scored the only goal in the shootout for Boston. From then on, it was all up to Thomas. Patrick Marleau skated to the puck and attempted a backhanded shot 11 feet away and Thomas snagged it up to give the Bruins the 2-1 win.
It was a huge win for the Bruins over one of the best teams in the NHL as it ended a three-game losing streak. The two points brought the Bruins to 23-16-7 (53 points) on the season, while the Sharks fell to 30-10-8 (68 points).
Thomas only allowed one goal with 41 saves on the night on his way to his 13th win of the season (13-11-5). It was his fourth road win in the last five games. For the Sharks, Nabokov performed well by stopping 30-of-31 shots on goal, but he couldn’t stop Chara’s slapshot in the shootout as he received the overtime loss.
“This is an important time for us,” Thomas said. “We’re down in manpower and when you put in the amount of work we did tonight, to get rewarded with two points is nice. Whether it will help us at the end of the season, we’ll find out.”
The Bruins had to find leadership and goal-scoring from all over as they were without Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard for the third straight game. Savard has a partial tear of his right MCL and he could miss up to four weeks. Bergeron could be back as soon as Monday when the Bruins take on Ottawa. David Krejci was also a scratch against the Sharks.
“It was a huge statement game for us, especially with so many challenges facing us,” Chara said. “Our top centers are missing and we had to sacrifice everything for the team. It was small parts that led to a big difference.”
The Bruins continue their road trip when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Kings on Saturday night. The Kings are not one of the best teams in the West but at 26-18-3 (55 points) they are a pretty solid team, so it will be another tough test for the Bruins.