Joe Thornton made his return to the TD Garden tonight as his visiting San Jose Sharks took on the Boston Bruins. Unlike former Bruins players like Marco Sturm, Dennis Wideman, and Phil Kessel, the Boston fans will never boo "Jumbo Joe" because he was traded out of Boston. He lifted the organization at a time when the Bruins were downright miserable and often times looked at as a push-over team. He is a well-respected player and an even better person. It is hard to imagine that his NHL career is already 1,000 games old.
His Sharks are not off to the best start this season, sitting in last place in the Pacific Division. They came off a huge shootout win last night against the New Jersey Devils. The reason I mention this is because the Bruins will face opponents who play the previous night 14 times this season. The Bruins are 2-0-0 so far in those respective games and they tried to continue that streak against San Jose.
The entire game consisted of the Sharks utilizing somewhat of an amoeba formation in which the defenders and forwards constantly change position. This tactic is not an easy thing to plan for and the Bruins had some struggles with it early on. Joe Pavelski gave the Sharks an early lead after Thornton fed Pavelski the puck and shot it past Tim Thomas.
Logan Couture doubled their lead after the puck was dumped in the zone and Ryane Clowe beat out three Bruins players to get to the puck. From there, he passed the puck to Couture in front of the net and he was not going to miss from that distance. Shawn Thornton beat Jim Vandermeer pretty convincingly in a fight in hopes of giving Boston some energy heading into the final period.
Did he ever succeed at that or what? The Bruins came out and scored two goals in less than thirty seconds of each other to tie the game. Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin had the goals. They really have become a great tandem in terms of scoring. The chemistry is just there and you get that feeling that something could happen every time they take the ice.
The score did not remain tied for long as Benn Ferriero put the Sharks back on top. He cleaned up a rebound that, in all honesty, Thomas should have had in the first place. They later added an empty net goal as they went on to defeat the Bruins by a score of 4-2.
The Bruins have a long break for the early part of next week but their next game will be Thursday night at the TD Garden when the Montreal Canadiens come in to begin writing the 2011-2012 season chapter of the greatest rivalry in sports.
Gold Star: Tyler Seguin (1 goal, +2 rating, 5 shots on goal)...He is turning into the best player for this Bruins team. Even his defense has improved significantly. His nine points leads all players in the NHL under the age of 20.
Black Star: Nathan Horton...Not a very strong game for the power forward as he finished with a -2 rating.