BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins recently have had trouble finding the right combination of players for center Gregory Campbell's line and a right wing for center David Krejci's line. The position battles became clearer Tuesday at TD Garden.
Campbell scored the go-ahead goal at 10:42 of the third period after Krejci's latest right wing, rookie Seth Griffith, had tied the game less than six minutes earlier, and the Bruins held on for a 5-3 victory against the San Jose Sharks.
The Bruins trailed 3-2 heading into the third period because the Sharks scored two goals in a 37-second span late in the second period.
"I really liked our game, even the second period was probably our best second period of the season," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "You know we just had that little lapse again that allowed them to score a couple of goals. But coming out for the third I thought we were playing well enough that we could give ourselves a chance if we just stayed with it. And our guys did exactly that. We found a way to score some goals."
Defenseman Torey Krug had one goal and two assists, left wing Milan Lucic had three assists, and goaltender Tuukka Rask made 31 saves to help the Bruins (4-4-0) win consecutive games for the first time this season.
Boston killed a double minor for high sticking against Patrice Bergeron, its top penalty-killer, in the final four minutes. Defenseman Zdeno Chara played nearly the entire four minutes, and Krejci and center Chris Kelly won several key faceoffs before Krejci sealed the win with an empty-net, shorthanded goal with 24.5 seconds remaining.
"Well, in that situation it's desperation mode," Campbell said. "You're really doing anything you can. I mean, they snap around pretty well and [have] a great power play. They're running a 30 (percent), 33 percent on the road, so with a couple good saves by Tuukka, but it's really just playing within the system that we have. And [Bergeron] kills enough penalties for us, so it's important for us to do that for him."
"You need to get at least a point, and we kind of let that one slip away and with this team we can't be doing that," Couture said. "We need to get a lot better. [The goals] we gave up were very preventable. It's not like they were making great plays; we were giving them the chances and we got to be a lot better."
Campbell, who skated on a line with Daniel Paille and Simon Gagne for the second time this season, scored the game-winner on a tip-in. Campbell went to the net after pressuring the Sharks on the forecheck following a Paille dump-in. The Sharks' hard-around pass behind their own net didn't connect and wound up on Paille's stick on the right wall. Paille fired the puck toward the San Jose goal, where both Campbell and Gagne were in position.
Boston battled back after San Jose's two-goal flurry late in the second period and tied the game 3-3 on Griffith's first NHL goal at 4:50 of the third. Krug's shot from the right point hit some bodies in front, and the puck eventually made its way to Griffith at the right hash mark for a shot that beat Niemi inside the right post.
"It was great. I had a couple chances the last couple games. So it's nice to get this one out of the way," Griffith said.
Down 2-1 late in the second period, the Sharks grabbed the lead heading into the second intermission. First, Couture scored his second goal of the game with a wrist shot from the slot at 16:15 after a Bruins defensive breakdown. At 16:52, Joe Thornton timed his net drive perfectly to tip a pass from Joe Pavelski past Rask for the 3-2 San Jose lead.
Krug had given the Bruins a 2-1 lead 6:54 into the second period with a power-play goal.
The Bruins and Sharks were sloppy in the first half of the first period, but the second half featured quality power plays that resulted in goals by both sides.
Left wing Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the season at 13:57 on a wrist shot from the right dot that beat Niemi high to the short side to put the Bruins ahead 1-0.
The Sharks answered with a power-play goal of their own on a tip-in by Couture at 16:28. Left wing Patrick Marleau found room to fire a wrist shot from the top of the left circle to set up Couture's game-tying goal.
"[We were] .500 on the road. The beginning of the season, with not a lot of practice time, it's not an easy trip," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "We played in some tough buildings. I'm going to sound like we're satisfied by saying that; we're not. We're disappointed in some of the areas of our game and in times of our game. But we have some experience on the road now. We got some of our younger players into games. Would we like to come home 3-1-1? Yeah. We didn't, and now we got to make some hay at home for a couple games."
Boston and San Jose will play the second game of their two-game season series Dec. 4 in San Jose. The Bruins swept the two-game series last season.
The Bruins remain home to play the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Sharks' next game is at home Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.