Joe Thornton returned to Boston for his first game against the Bruins, while those traded for him, Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau encountered their former club for the first time as well. The anticipated return didn’t last long as a very questionable call sent Joe Thornton to the showers with a game misconduct just five minutes into the contest.
The penalty did not affect the Sharks in the least as Josh Langfeld scored twice for his first two goals of the season and San Jose topped the Bruins 6-2, winning for the first time ever in Boston.
Both clubs came in playing well as Team Teal was riding a three-game winning streak and Boston was on a two-game run. Tom Preissing returned to the ice to help the defense in front of Evgeni Nabokov who was in the pipes opposite Andrew Raycroft.
San Jose took the early lead from an unlikely source as Josh Langfeld scored his first of the season to put Team Teal up 1-0. After taking a drop pass from Mark Smith, Langfeld fired toward Raycroft. Scott Hannan dropped down low to create traffic in front and kept Boston from gaining control, allowing Smith to regain the puck. His shot was stopped, but skating in from behind the net, Langfeld backhanded in the rebound for his first Sharks goal.
Minutes later, the strange refereeing call to Joe Thornton
sent him to the lockerroom for the rest of the game. The big center sent Hal Gill into the boards with a hit to the left shoulder. Gill was on ice and the ref decided to give Joe Thornton
a five minute major and a game misconduct to the dismay of those wanting to see their former top center.
San Jose did not let the call affect their game as they killed off the five minutes and continued peppering Raycroft. First Scott Thornton had a chance, and then it was Langfeld again. He did not connect on his second at that time, but that would come later on a second Bruins power play.
While down a man, Alyn McCauley and Langfeld skated in on a two-on-one. McCauley forced the defenseman to commit before send the pass over. Langfeld settled the puck down and beat the Raycroft to the top left corner for the 2-0 lead.
Boston would score later on the power play when a screen kept Nabokov from seeing the play. To that point with four minutes remaining in the period, San Jose was outshooting Boston 15-4.
Right off the bat in the second, Boston looked to tie the game. Brad Isbister drove the net, but had little angle and a defenseman on him. However, his rebound came out front and Primeau came skating in. Nabokov though sprawled out to cover the bottom of the net and Primeau could not knock it past him.
San Jose had their third power play of the game when a Boston clearing attempt went over the glass. On the ensuing advantage, the Sharks had Raycroft out of position, but could not beat him on that play. However, Marleau kept possession of the puck and held it as he watched Hannan dip down from his point. The pass was perfect through the top of the crease and Hannan tapped it in for a 3-1 lead.
Eight minutes into the second, Brian Leetch dropped skated toward Nabokov and looked to be setting up for easy tap-in goal. It would not be the case as McCauley showed off his Selke Finalist ability and prevented the tally on the backcheck.
A penalty to Albers on Marcel Goc provided San Jose another second period power play and once again they made Boston pay. This time Nils Ekman set up shot behind the net and Raycroft and two defenders were looking at the speedy Swede. Marleau simply slid into the open slot. To avoid the defense, Ekman had to lift the pass a bit and just as it hit the ice, the Captain one-timed it past Raycroft for the 4-1 lead.
It would become 5-1 on yet another Sharks power play, this one caused when Langfeld was hooked while driving the net for his first career hat trick. Just as he set up Marleau, Ekman played helper to Jonathan Cheechoo this time. The pass from the opposite side of the slot found Cheechoo winding up and he one-timed in his 24th goal of the season. Cheechoo’s tally sent Raycroft to the showers in favor of Tim Thomas.
The period ended 5-1 and a chorus of boos followed the Bruins to the lockerroom.
When the clubs came out for the third, the momentum was still rolling in Team Teal’s direction. Nineteen seconds into the period, Marleau perfectly fed Ekman for what turned into a quick breakaway and he had time to fake the forehand and wrap the puck far side on a downed Thomas.
With the outcome long decided, the Sharks looked to get Langfeld the hat trick, but it would not happen. Boston would add a late tally to make the final 6-2.
San Jose settled for running their winning streak to four games, gaining a valuable two points in the playoff race and winning their first ever game in Boston.
Scott Thornton played in his 800th career NHL game, the day after his 35th NHL birthday.
Longtime Sharks trainer Tom Woodcock, who retired in 2004 after a 37-year NHL career, was back on the bench for a game. He assisted with the Sharks practice the day before and was awarded a Rolex watch by the players the night before the contest.
The Sharks used the victory against Boston to run their record again the Eastern Conference to a perfect, and Western Conference best, 7-0-0.
San Jose returns to action Thursday in Ottawa with a 4:30 p.m. affair that will be televised on FSN Bay and can be heard on 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.