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Sharks aim to keep rolling against Bruins

by John Kreiser

BRUINS (22-16-7) at SHARKS (30-10-7)

Last 10 -- Boston 5-5-0; San Jose 8-2-0

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the only time this season. San Jose won the lone meeting in 2008-09, winning 5-2 at Boston in a game between the NHL's top two regular-season finishers. Boston won 2-1 in its last trip to San Jose in October 2007.

Big story -- The teams are meeting for only the fourth time since the trade that reshaped both franchises -- the Nov. 30, 2005, deal that sent center Joe Thornton to San Jose. The trade was the biggest piece of the Sharks' rebuilding program -- they've been among the NHL's elite since the deal and won the Presidents' Trophy last season.

Team Scope:

Bruins -- Boston started its three-game swing through California on Wednesday with a disappointing 4-3 loss at Anaheim. The Bruins led 3-2 after two periods, but goals by Ryan Getzlaf and Steve Eminger gave the Ducks the win. Boston had some excellent chances in the final seconds but was thwarted by the goaltending of Jonas Hiller, who finished with 27 saves.

"It's a tough loss to take," coach Claude Julien said. "I think our guys battled hard, had some great chances. We tried to tie the game up and even extend the lead at one point, but (the puck) just didn't want to go in on that last one.

"Mistakes cost us some goals, but we battled back. It's one of those tough losses that's hard to take right now."

Sharks -- The line of Thornton between Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau is arguably the toughest to stop in the NHL. The trio accounted for all three goal in Tuesday's 3-1 victory at Phoenix, with Marleau scoring twice to take over the League goal-scoring lead with 31.

With 31 goals in 47 games, Marleau reached the 30-goal mark faster than anyone in Sharks history. The previous mark was held by Jonathan Cheechoo, who had 30 in 50 games in 2005-06 (most of them after Thornton's arrival) and finished with 56. It's the first time a Shark has ever been the "first to 30."

Who's hot -- For Boston, Mark Recchi had 2 assists on Wednesday and is 1-3-4 in his last four games. Blake Wheeler has 7 points in his last five games, though he was held off the scoresheet in losses to the Rangers and Ducks. … Marleau has 5 goals in his last five games, while Heatley is 3-1-4 in his last four. Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov stopped 65 of 67 shots in back-to-back road wins against Los Angeles on Monday and Phoenix on Tuesday.

Injury report -- For the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron (broken right thumb), Mark Stuart (sternum), and Andrew Ference (groin) are on injured reserve, and center Marc Savard (right knee) will miss another two weeks or so. … San Jose forward Manny Malhotra hasn't played since Dec. 31 due to a lower-body injury.

Stat pack -- The Bruins have had more success against the Sharks than almost anyone else. They are 13-6 with five ties all-time against San Jose, though the Sharks are 3-1-1 in the last five.. … The teams have never had a game decided in overtime or a shootout. … The Sharks have never shut out the Bruins in their 24 meetings.

Puck drop -- Tuesday's win put San Jose atop the overall standings. But with 35 games left, coach Todd McLellan isn't making room for another Presidents' Trophy just yet. "You don't win medals in a marathon at the 12-mile marker," McLellan told the Sharks' Web site on Wednesday. "We've got a long, long way to go."

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