Saturday, February 5, 2011

Niemi Shuts Out Bruins In Sharks' 2-0 Victory

The San Jose Sharks extend their current road victory to 2-0 with a victory over the strong Boston Bruins with a score of 2-0. Logan Couture's power play goal just seven and a half minutes into the first period was all the team needed to win, especially with the strong, stepped up defensive play that allowed goaltender Antti Niemi to earn his third shutout of the season. Forward Devin Setoguchi increased the score to 2-0 with three seconds left in the game on an open net, as the Bruins pulled their goaltender Tim Thomas in an attempt to tie the game late in the third. Although the Sharks' 18 total shots on net were the lowest of the season, it was enough to earn their much-deserved two points.

The Sharks' defense was continually impressive all game, defending the net and keeping the Bruins scoreless for their four power plays. Even during the Bruins' fourth power play in the third period from a Joe Thornton tripping call, the Bruins failed to register a single shot on net for the entire two minutes. It became clear, to those of us either watching the game on television or listening to the game on the radio, that the fans in Boston's TD Garden were disappointed and began booing their team in disgust.

Although the Bruins played a decent game, almost scoring from a Milan Lucic shot that hit the post, and their many almost-successful attempts to capitalize on the several large rebounds given by Niemi, the Sharks' defense today was too strong. In addition, the Bruins failed to win the puck battles in the corners (something the Sharks have been great at all season, with the likes of Ryane Clowe and Scott Nichol), giving the Sharks more control over the puck's movement.

Couture's goal (after missing two straight games from the flu) puts his tally to 23, giving him a comfortable lead thus far in the rookie goal scoring race (five ahead of the Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner).

With the win, the Sharks are now tied with the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference standings at 62 points (taking up the 4th and 5th place spots), although the Ducks have played in one more game.

The Sharks continue their road trip next Tuesday (the 8th) against a powerful Washington Capitals team in D.C.

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