The San Jose Sharks managed to come up for air last night, holding off the Bruins for a much needed 2 points at the HP Pavilion.
While it didn’t move our beloved Sharkies into the playoffs, it did tighten the gap with Dallas as they fell to the Canucks.
Looking for more secondary scoring, Sharks coach Todd McLellan mixed up his lines by reuniting Joe Pavelski to the top line and moving Logan Couture back to center Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat.
Jumping out to a fast start, the Sharks took the play to the Bruins until Joe Pavelski opened the scoring in the first period on a Patrick Marleau rebound off Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
After Daniel Winnick scored his first goal in Teal, the Sharks never looked back as Niemi shut out the Bruins until captain Zdeno Chara’s goal with just 4:15 left in the game.
The return of Michal Handzus after missing six games with a lower body injury, and rookie Tommy Wingels returning after being sidelined for five helped the Sharks depth, but the third and fourth lines have got to do more to generate offense.
Antti Niemi did not have to do much in the win over Boston, stopping just 16 shots out of 17 but he continued to fight the puck all night long. Whether his confidence has taken a hit or not, Niemi just doesn’t look like his head is in the right place. Without the Sharks coming back for support, several long rebounds could have easily been chipped in by any number of Bruins.
With just eight games left and all within the Pacific Division, “Finding Nemo” is definitely what the Sharks will need if they want to make any kind of noise in the postseason.
Now just one point behind the two team tie in 8th place, the Sharks now head to Phoenix for a pivotal matchup with the season winding down to a close. After the demoralizing losses to the Ducks and Kings the previous week, the Sharks are running out of time and must build upon this win in order to make the postseason.
The Western Conference is absolutely crazy as usual, with six teams vying for the final three playoff spots in the West. And Four are shooting for the #3 spot by winning the Pacific Division, with the Kings taking the division lead after Dallas fell.
With just 2 points seperating the Sharks from another division title, and looking up at the Coyotes, Kings and Stars the next eight games take particular importance as the Sharks face the Coyotes, Kings and Stars twice down the stretch.
It truly is do or die time for our Sharkies, time will tell if they bounce back and get their shit together, or if they’ll be golfing at Silvercreek.