Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sharks send notice that they’re in charge

The date had been circled on the calendar since December, once it became clear that both the Bruins and the Sharks were for real this season and weren’t going to fade to the middle of the pack after quick starts.

So, Tuesday night’s game in Boston had become one of the more anticipated of matches in a long and occasionally tedious regular season. A chance for the two top teams of the NHL to make a declaration for NHL supremacy just past the mid way point of the season.

For the first period it looked as though the Bruins would be the team that came out of the showdown with the bragging rights, Milan Lucic a one man scoring machine quickly had the B’s up by two and looking very dominant as Boston played their normal home game of bashing and scoring.

However, it was a former Bruin who finally shook off the road trip blues and grabbed his team by the sweater to take charge of the game. Joe Thornton, once the toast of the city became the Bruin’s greatest tormentor on Tuesday as he pushed his team on to victory, scoring once in the third, and part of a three goal in six minute explosion by the Sharks.

More importantly, he became the focus of attention for the Bruin’s fans who booed him every time he touched the puck and for the Bruins on the ice who seemed to provide him with much in the way of attention, a strategy that inevitably would leave other sharks open to take advantage of the scoring opportunities

Sharks captain Patrick Marleau had another strong game with a three point night, kicking off that three goal splurge in the third, that final twenty minutes was all San Jose as they controlled all facets of play, out hitting the Bruins, out playing them and in the category that counts the most out scoring them.

While the Bruins played well in the first two periods, the third period letdown provided a lesson for Boston, if they want to challenge with the best in the league, it takes all three periods of play.

Bruins’ coach Claude Julien was hopeful of a rematch with the Sharks in the months to come, should it come to pass it will be part of a seven game Stanley Cup final, as the Bruins and Sharks don’t meet again in the regular season.

The Sharks look very much like they'll be a team to be pencilled in for the finals, the Bruins showed some strength as well, but need to keep the game plan on the move for all three periods.

Should the two teams renew acquaintances again in late May or early June, one suspects that these lessons from the middle of the season will not be lost on the Bruins.

Boston Globe-- Sharks show teeth
Boston Herald-- Best not that good

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