Photo credit: @BarDown
By Jerry Feitelberg
Joe Thornton scored a hat trick and the San Jose Sharks erased a three-goal first period deficit, but the Boston Bruins escaped the SAP Center with a 6-5 overtime win Monday night. Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winner with 1:01 left in the extra skate to give Boston the sweep of the trio of California teams and Chris Wagner scored a controversial goal to tie the game late after Joe Thornton’s third goal gave the Sharks a then 5-4 lead.
Joe Pavelski had three points and Logan Couture picked up two in the loss. Neither San Jose’s Martin Jones (14 saves) nor Tuuka Rask of Boston (33 saves) were particularly sharp in net for their respective teams.
McAvoy’s overtime strike came after her and Evander Kane got tangled up in the Sharks offensive end after some physical play. Kane went off for a change, McAvoy stayed on and snuck into the slot for a pass from David Krejci (three assists), with the defenseman’s shot beating Jones for the win with 1:01 left in overtime.
The Bruins put themselves in the position to win despite managing only 20 shots, including four in the second period and seven in the third after Chris Wagner’s career-best eighth goal of the season. Wagner scored with 1:49 left in regulation after batting a puck down from midair behind Martin Jones. Since Wagner hit the puck once more before the puck crossed the goal-line and the official didn’t rule his touch a high stick and a stop of play, the play was not review-able and the game-tying goal counted. It was one of many moments of frustration between the Sharks and referees as Evander Kane also had a late breakaway blown dead after the Bruins net was dislodge and play continued without the net being replaced by a trailing official.
While one point is a small consolation for the Sharks, it was a tremendous comeback effort led by First Star and former Bruin Joe Thornton and teammate Joe Pavekski. With a first goal in toe for Jumbo but the Sharks trailing 3-1 after 20 minutes, the Sharks vets stepped up in a big way down the final 40. Pavelski scored a power play strike, his team-leading 32nd goal, 2:24 into the second to cut the Bruins’ lead to 3-2, but a Jake DeBrusk power play tally, one of three points for the winger, 6:30 into the second put the Bruins back up by two. Thornton scored his 12th goal of the season 3:57 from the second intermission and Logan Couture scored the ultra-rare short-handed penalty shot goal, beating Rask with 25 second left in the period after a Bruin covered the puck in the crease with their hand. Couture’s 22nd goal pulled San Jose down 4-3 heading into the final frame. Couture also assisted on Pavelski’s power play goal.
Thornton brought down a rain of hats with 6:28 left in regulation after doing something he was often criticized for not doing in Boston; he shot the puck. It was a rocket of a shot that may have deflected off McAvoy into the back of the net for Thornton’s first hat trick since 2010 and 13th goal of the year.
Boston held a 3-0 lead with just over 1:30 left in the first. Torey Krug picked up his sixth goal of the year 13:49 into the period on the man advantage, Zdeno Chara scored on a shot off a Sean Kuraly faceoff win 16:26 into the frame and Karson Kuhlman scored his first goal of his NHL career with 1:36 left in the period. Thornton scored with just three seconds left in the period to give San Jose a slight boost heading into the dressing room after the first period.
San Jose sits a point back of Calgary since the Flames won Monday night. The Sharks travel to Pittsburgh to face the former Stanley Cup foe Penguins Thursday, then travel to Columbus for a Saturday matchup against the Blue Jackets and then a Sunday tilt in the Motor City. The Sharks will then face these same Bruins in Boston in just over one week next Tuesday.