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Bruins Come Close, But Fall Short in San Jose

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

SAN JOSE, Calif. — With less than a second to go in regulation, Torey Krug had the puck in the slot and nearly found an opening on Sharks netminder James Reimer.

There was still 00.5 left on the clock, but Krug was left hunched over behind the net in disbelief, knowing how close he was to tying the game at 3-3 in San Jose.

Less than four minutes before the blueliner’s chance, David Krejci had found himself in all alone on a breakaway. He deked to his backhand and nearly slid his bid by Reimer. He met the post instead.

The Bruins fought until the end, but left the SAP Center with a 3-2 loss in their first game of the three-game West Coast swing through California.

“You can’t get any closer than that,” Krejci lamented. “It was post and had the goalie beat — I just hit the post.”

Boston held San Jose to just four shots on goal and a power-play goal in the third period, but couldn’t convert on their prime opportunities.

“Felt like this game could have gone either way,” Krejci said. “They had some chances, we had some chances. They did some sloppy play defensively and we did the same thing, so it could have gone either way.”

“Especially the second period, it wasn’t our best and they came back in the game. You know, too bad — this was really close. It’s frustrating.”

The Sharks struck first in the game, but the Bruins had a 2-1 lead heading into the second period, thanks to goals from Krejci and Loui Eriksson.

Krejci evened the score at 1-1 with his 15th of the season at 8:34 left in the opening frame.

Krug banked a quick pass up ice off the boards to David Pastrnak speeding through the neutral zone. When Reimer kicked out Pastrnak’s drive from the right circle with his right skate, Krejci powered home the rebound.

“We’re playing a pretty good three teams on this road trip, so take it game by game,” said Krejci. “Too bad we didn’t get two points today, but we should learn from this and play a full 60 minutes — not just the first and third period — so hopefully we learn from our mistakes and be better next game.”

The Bruins found themselves on the penalty kill late in the first period, but took advantage. Eriksson put Boston on top, 2-1, when he notched his second shorthanded goal of the season —and his 27th overall — with 2:14 left in the period. Krejci earned the primary assist, intercepting Brent Burns’ pass and feeding Eriksson up the middle.

The tally marked the Bruins’ 10th shorthanded goal of the season and gave Eriksson three goals in his last three games.

“I thought we played good in the first period,” said Eriksson. “And in the second, we started making some mistakes and turning the puck over and we gave them some momentum. So it’s a tough one, a tough start on the road to get a loss, so we’re definitely not happy with it.”

The Bruins killed off a slashing penalty to Krejci for the final minute of the opening frame and first minute of the second.

San Jose gained momentum in the middle frame, with the Bruins turning the puck over — especially in the neutral zone and at the bluelines.

A rush nearly materialized for Brad Marchand and his linemates midway through the period, but the puck went the other way and Burns was credited with the tying goal for San Jose with 8:14 left in the second.

After a broken play in the corner, Tomas Hertl managed to still send a pass to Burns at the right circle. Burns’ attempted pass to Joe Thornton down low went off Ryan Spooner’s stick and in behind Tuukka Rask to make it 2-2. It marked the blueliner’s 26th goal of the season to lead all NHL defensemen.

Despite a frustrating second period that saw the Bruins get away from their game, they still got out of the frame with the game tied at 2-2 — thanks to a couple of posts and nine saves from Rask.

“Well, you know, it’s just — in the second period especially, I think we had a little letdown there,” said Rask. “We kind of got away from our game, we turned some pucks over and that killed the momentum for us, but we regained it I thought and had some chances, and just couldn’t capitalize — but from a goaltender’s perspective, some tough bounces.”

Heading into the final 20 minutes, the Black & Gold needed to forget their frustration, find their skating legs like they had in the first period and close out a big-time road game in San Jose.

But when Bruins found themselves on the penalty kill in the third, Joonas Donskoi scored the go-ahead to make it 3-2 at 6:37 into the frame. Rask was expecting a shot from Burns, who instead went backdoor to Joel Ward with Donskoi in front. Rask dove from left to right, but didn’t have much of a chance to make a save.

The Bruins kept pressing. Rask stayed strong to keep it a one-goal game, robbing Matt Nieto with his pad and finishing the game with 24 saves on 27 shots.

Boston was finally given its first power play of the game with 9:40 to go in the third. As the man advantage was coming to an end, Reimer had to sprawl to clear the puck out of his blue paint.

The final power play went to the Sharks, however, when Adam McQuaid was called for interference as he tried to get untangled from Dainius Zubrus. It marked the Sharks' fourth chance of the night.

“I mean, [we] didn’t play bad. We probably deserved to win as much as they did,” said Rask. “But just couldn’t get the result, given that last power play for them, which was the key, and we couldn’t bounce back from that, but not a bad game.”

“We want to get some points out of this road trip, there’s no doubt about that, but it was a good effort,” said Julien. “Somehow we’ve just got to clean up a couple of the little things here that could have made it a bit different and we’ll go from there.”

After Tuesday night’s action, the Bruins wound up in second place in the Atlantic Division. The Florida Panthers jumped them by a point with a 4-1 win over Montreal. Tampa Bay stayed below them by a point after a 4-1 loss to Toronto.

Boston will be off Wednesday before getting back to practice on Thursday and finishing off their trip with a back-to-back against Anaheim and Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday.

“We’re just going to have to keep plugging away,” said Rask. “These are all tough teams and we have to play a really tight defensive game and wait for our opportunities and that will give us a chance to win.”

“I think we can not get too down on ourselves after this game, but still realize that we have to get some points out of here and focus on Anaheim and LA coming up and try to get some wins.”

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