The Bear Cave

January 15, 2010 3:19 AM

Chara Blasts Bruins to Victory in San Jose

Since the shootout was brought into the NHL for the 2005-06 season, Zdeno Chara has stepped to the plate five times. Prior to Thursday night's game, the Boston Bruins' captain had scored twice, faking out Rick DiPietro, and blasting a shot through Henrik Lundqvist. Evgeni Nabokov can now add his name to the list of Chara's victims. In the fourth round of a shootout between Boston and San Jose, Chara clobbered the eventual winning goal past the Sharks' netminder. Tim Thomas made his teammate's tally stand up, turning aside Patrick Marleau for a 2-1 victory at HP Pavilion.

In the early stages of the game, the fans in San Jose quickly learned that the goaltenders would be the story. The Sharks came out with a strong start, firing 12 shots during the first period. However, the Bruins also had a solid period, putting 11 shots on goal. Tim Thomas and Evgeni Nabokov were up to the task, stopping all 23 for a scoreless tie after one period of play.

Early in the second period, the deadlock was broken, as the visitors struck first. Douglas Murray tried playing the puck up the left wing boards in his own zone, but was unable to get it past Shawn Thornton at the right point. With the Sharks skating forward, anticipating a breakout, Daniel Paille was able to slip behind the defense, giving Thornton a target. Thornton dished the pass to Paille, who had his original shot blocked by Nabokov. The rebound bounced out to Dan Boyle, who inadvertently kicked the puck past his own netminder.

As the midway mark of the hockey game approached, Dan Boyle avenged his earlier error, setting up the tying goal. Mark Recchi won a defensive zone face-off to Dennis Wideman, who backhanded the puck behind his own goal, trying to connect with Zdeno Chara. However, Joe Thornton stepped up, intercepting the pass, and going to work behind the cage. After having his stuff attempt blocked, Thornton spun a pass back to Boyle at the right point. Boyle stepped into a one-timer that was stopped by Thomas, but the Boston goalie had a difficult time controlling the rebound. The puck bounced behind Thomas, where Thornton scored his second goal in four games against his former club.

Aside from the two goals, the middle frame was once again strong for the goaltenders. Nabokov stopped nine of the ten shots he faced, while Thomas was 15-for-16 during the second period.

The third period was played at a different pace from the first two, as the penalty box doors were opened for the first time all night. Both clubs received two minor penalties during the middle portion of the period, but both penalty killing units were up to the task, keeping the game knotted at one.

Both teams came close to taking a lead in the third period, but scoring was far from the story on this night. Daniel Paille had Boston's best chance, as he passed the puck off of the boards to himself, skating in alone on Nabokov. A sliding save by the Sharks' goalie brought a sigh of relief out of the home crowd. Later in the period, San Jose had a couple of chances, as Dany Heatley hit the post, while Ryan Clowe had his shot deflected wide by Marco Sturm.

When the final buzzer sounded at the end of regulation, nothing was settled, as the score remained 1-1. Overtime didn't help in changing that, as the two teams combined for just three shots on goal. That meant that a shootout was necessary.

Despite being the home team, the Sharks elected to shoot second, meaning Michael Ryder led off for the Bruins. Ryder tried waiting Nabokov out, but ended up with little to shoot at, as San Jose's netminder made an easy glove save. Joe Pavelski went first for the Sharks, paused as he reached the slot, but missed high. Miroslav Satan shot second for Boston, and had Nabokov beat, but just slid the puck wide of the right post. San Jose turned to Ryane Clowe in round two. Clowe faked to his forehand, then went to his backhand, but Thomas read it the whole way. Mark Recchi missed wide with a wrist shot in the third round for the Bruins, while Dany Heatley had his wrist shot stopped by Thomas.

With nothing settled in the first three rounds, Zdeno Chara got the call from Claude Julien. Chara skated to the low part of the slot, before finally breaking the deadlock with a rocket of a slap shot. That left it up to Patrick Marleau to keep the Sharks alive. Marleau tried a similar move to Clowe's, but the end result was the same, as Thomas made another big glove save.

Tim Thomas played one of his best games of the year in goal for the Bruins, making 41 saves on 42 shots during the game, before a perfect 4-for-4 effort in the shootout. Evgeni Nabokov also played well for the Sharks, but fell short, despite 30 saves during the game, and three more in the shootout.

Since trading Joe Thornton to San Jose, the Bruins and Sharks have split their four head-to-head meetings, with the road team winning all of them.

The Boston Bruins are now 1-1 on their current road trip, and will look to complete the trip with a victory on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles. Face-off at the Staples Center is scheduled for 4:00 on the East Coast. The Providence Bruins are back in action on Friday night, as they visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:00.

Scoring Summary:
2. BOS Paille (5) (S. Thornton) 2:50
2. SJS J. Thornton (12) (Heatley, Boyle) 9:56


BOS Michael Ryder- S
BOS Miroslav Satan- S
BOS Mark Recchi- S
BOS Zdeno Chara- G

SJS Joe Pavelski- S
SJS Ryane Clowe- S
SJS Dany Heatley- S
SJS Patrick Marleau- S

Penalty Summary:
3. SJS Boyle- Holding 6:57
3. BOS Wheeler- High Sticking 8:43
3. SJS Marleau- Interference 9:32
3. BOS Wheeler- Hooking 11:37

BOS Tim Thomas (13-11-5): 42 shots, 41 saves
SJS Evgeni Nabokov (26-7-8): 31 shots, 30 saves

Shots on Goal:
BOS 11-10-9-1-1=32
SJS 12-16-12-2-0=42

Power Plays:
BOS 0-for-2
SJS 0-for-2

Three Stars of the Game:
1- BOS Tim Thomas
2- SJS Joe Thornton
3- BOS Daniel Paille

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