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Bruins try to salvage road trip as they visit Sharks

by Brian Hunter

BRUINS (28-14-2) at SHARKS (28-11-6)


Last 10: Boston 5-5-0; San Jose 7-3-0

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks. Tuukka Rask made 38 saves and David Krejci had a goal and an assist when the Bruins edged the Sharks 2-1 at TD Garden on Oct. 24.

Big story: A California road trip hasn't been kind so far to the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins, who will try to avoid losing all three games. It won't be easy; the Sharks are 16-1-3 in their 20 games at SAP Center this season.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Life doesn't get any easier for Boston after starting its trip with a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday and a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Now they'll face the NHL's fifth-best offense, as the Sharks average 3.13 goals per game. Rask has allowed eight goals on his past 38 shots (.789 save percentage) and was pulled 1:45 into the second period Thursday after giving up three goals on 18 shots.

"We know we can play much better than we are right now, so now we need to get our game back, and it's not going to happen overnight," captain Zdeno Chara said after a 4-1 loss to Los Angeles on Thursday. "We need to earn our game back."

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk will miss the game for personal reasons.

Sharks: This begins a stretch of four straight games against Eastern Conference opponents for the Sharks, who are 9-3-2 in interconference games. That includes a 7-1-1 mark against the Atlantic Division; the loss in Boston was the only time they didn't get at least one point.

The Sharks are second in the Pacific Division, nine points behind the Ducks but three in front of the Kings, and are coming off a 4-1 win Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings. Joe Pavelski scored twice and Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots. Also important, they got forwards Tyler Kennedy and Tommy Wingels back in the lineup.

"We're not in the perfect place, but it certainly helped," coach Todd McLellan said in the San Jose Mercury News. "What it really did was put guys more in position than anything. I thought the lines we put together were effective. Got minutes from everybody."

Who's hot: Carl Soderberg and Gregory Campbell have three-game assist streaks for the Bruins. … Pavelski has five goals in as many games for the Sharks. Joe Thornton added two assists to his League-leading total of 45 on Thursday. He has at least one assist in 12 of the past 14 games. Jason Demers has one goal and four assists during a four-game point streak.

Injury report: Boston forward Loui Eriksson (concussion) was cleared for contact but didn't play Thursday. Forward Chris Kelly (ankle) remains out. … San Jose defenseman Matt Irwin (upper body) is day-to-day. Forwards Logan Couture (hand), Marty Havlat (lower body), Tomas Hertl (knee), Adam Burish (lower body) and Raffi Torres (knee) are on injured reserve.

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