Bruins earn ho-hum 3-1 win over San Jose

There is not much the Bruins could have learned about themselves in their game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday at SAP Arena, such is the sorry state of their rebuilding opponent.

But while nothing jumped out to excite fans who stayed up late to watch, the B’s banked the requisite two points in their 3-1 win over the Sharks.

“It’s good to get the first one on the road trip. We hadn’t played in a bit. There’s definitely some things we need to continue to clean up but if we can continue to improve while getting points, that would be good,” Brad Marchand told NESN after scoring his first of the year.

If they have a lot pretty tic-tac-toe plays in their arsenal, the B’s haven’t shown it in their first three games. Unimpressed by his team’s 5-on-5 play in he first two games, coach Jim Montgomery had changed his top three lines going into the game. He turned the blender on again before the second period was out, still to no avail. But nevertheless, the B’s notched their third win in as many tries this year.

“It’s a work in progress,” Montgomery told reporters in San Jose of his team’s offensive chances.

Expect to hear that for a while.

The B’s, who landed 17 shots on net in the opening 20, controlled much of the first period but did not get on the board until the final two minutes, when they scored twice in 21 seconds.

The first one came at 18:06 on a line change. After John Beecher changed for his fellow rookie Matt Poitras, he covered for the pinching Derek Forbort and stopped a clearing attempt at the left point and slipped it back down to Marchand. The captain walked into the left dot and sniped his first goal of the year over goalie Kaapo Kahkonen glove arm, a perfect shot. The helper was Beecher’s first NHL point.

On the next shift, the B’s new 650-pound line of Charlie Coyle, Trent Frederic and James van Riemsdyk – the B’s best line of the game – went on the attack. Coyle went on the attack on his off wing, took the puck behind the net and then threw it toward the goal mouth. Frederic had a couple of wahcks at it before van Riemsdyk jammed it home for his third goal in two games. Sharks coach David Quinn debated with his staff of reviewing, van Riemdyk’s stick did come in contact with Kahkonen’s pad and moved it, but Quinn declined to challenge.

At the other end, Linus Ullmark (26 saves) wasn’t overly taxed, seeing a lot of long range shots. But he did come up with a terrific save on a slot shot from Mike Hoffman, one of the few Sharks’ scoring threats.

While still not giving up much, the B’s didn’t offer much in the way of offense in the second period until there was 3:14 left in the period. And even then, it wasn’t all that pretty.

David Pastrnak burst up the right wing on a partial odd-man break and elected to keep it himself. He got hit from behind and, off balance, Pastrank flailed at the puck before defenseman Matt Benning accidentally deflected it behind Kahkonen. Inartful as it may have been, it was Pastrnak’s fourth goal of the season.

The B’s could not keep the sheet clean for Ullmark in the third period. With 8:47 left, speedster Anthony Duclair streaked down the left wing nd, after running out of real estate, threw the puck in front where it bounced off Hampus Lindholm and past Ullmark.

The B’s faced over two minutes of 6-on-5 time and they might, they couldn’t get the empty-netter. Marchand took a penalty with 36 seconds left, but the Sharks could do nothing with it.

*Poitras had started the game with Marchand and Morgan Geekie and, even though he started the play on Marchand’s goal on a nice pull-up, he wasn’t much of a factor the rest of he night. He played just 12:18 and took a minus-1 on Duclair’s goal after the B’s had an offensive zone faceoff.

“To be a good pro, you have to learn form the game and move on. Get ready for the next one. We’re going to get a real good test when we go to LA (on Saturday),” said Montgomery.

Marchand’s assessment?

“I thought we had some good shifts and some we’d want to have back. But it’s going to be a work in progress. We’ve never played with each other before. It’ll take some time to build chemistry but I thought we did all right,” said Marchand.

*While he by no means had to steal the game, Ullmark was very good in notching his second win of the season.

“He battled hard. There was a lot of traffic and he seemed to come up with a lot of key saves through the traffic,” said Montgomery.

*While the right mix has not yet been found in the top six, Montgomery liked what he saw from the van Riemsdyk-Coyle-Frederic line.

“They had a tremendous impact. I thought Charlie was dominant tonight and his two linemates owned the front of the net and middle of the ice.  That second goal really put the exclamation mark on what I think that line can be,” said Montgomery.

*Beecher had his best game thus far, not only picking up the first point, but winning 7-of-11 draws, including one late in the game after Marchand took the penalty. He also made a nice play on the PK to spring Marchand for a breakaway in the third period.

“It’s huge. for myself especially, that’s how I’m going to make it in this league and survive in this league. I have to take a lot of pride in the 200-foot game anad being able to help out our team in that aspect. I think our kill has been pretty solid lately and hopefully we can keep it rolling,” said Beecher.

The B’s have killed all 13 penalties against them this year.

The point was a thrill for him.

“It’s pretty special getting the first one, especially an assist to a guy like that, a top 20 Bruin of all time. I’m going to be able to tell my kids about it one day,” said Beecher.



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