The Boston Bruins traveled up the California coast to play the San Jose Sharks in the third of four games on this Western Conference road trip.
The first two games were a struggle for Boston, as it lost Monday to the Anaheim Ducks and Tuesday to the Los Angeles Kings. The B’s scored just two goals against the Ducks and were shut out against the Kings, dropping them to 23rd in goals scored per game.
This is the second meeting of the season between these teams and the only one scheduled in San Jose. The Sharks were the only team that the B’s defeated on their California trip last season, and another victory would be Boston’s fourth in a row versus San Jose.
Here’s a quick preview of Bruins-Sharks.
TV, Radio Information: NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub
Season Series: 1-0 Bruins (5-3 win at TD Garden on Oct. 21)
Record: Boston (14-11-1, 5th in Atlantic), San Jose (12-10-4, 5th in Pacific)
Bruins Player To Watch: David Pastrnak has played well in his first four games with the Bruins, and he tallied his first career NHL point by picking up a primary assist on Brad Marchand’s goal Monday night. The 18-year-old right winger also is setting a good example for his teammates with a team-leading 12 shots on goal in the least three games. It would benefit the Bruins if the rest of his forward teammates showed the same aggression in the attacking zone.
Pastrnak has been a quality puck-possession player with a plus-35 Corsi through four games. He’s been on the ice for 74 Bruins shot attempts for and 39 against at even strength. It’s a small sample size, obviously, but Pastrnak’s performance has been encouraging.
Sharks Player To Watch: Marc-Edouard Vlasic is one of the most underrated players in the league and among the elite group of defensemen. In addition to his excellent defensive play, he’s tallied seven points (three goals, four assists) in 26 games. Vlasic also helps San Jose drive puck possession with a 54.09 Corsi-for percentage despite starting just under 43 percent of his even-strength shifts in the offensive zone.
Vlasic plays 22:29 per game (second-most on the Sharks) and likely will match up against the Marchand-Bergeron-Smith line or the Lucic-Soderberg-Pastrnak trio.
Key Stat For Bruins: The Bruins are 1-for-20 on the power play in their last 10 games. Boston also has a league-low 62 power-play opportunities. The B’s have not scored on their last 14 power-play chances.
Key Stat For Sharks: San Jose has enjoyed plenty of success with the man advantage. The Sharks rank fifth with a 23.5 power-play percentage and are able to deploy two quality units to the ice that feature elite offensive players such as Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/Associated Press