Boston Bruins rookie shines in 2-1 victory over the Sharks

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: Danton Heinen
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: Danton Heinen /

The Boston Bruins (3-3-1) and the San Jose Sharks (4-4-0) met for the first time this season Thursday night at TD Garden. Both teams came in with even records, looking for their next win to push above .500.

The Boston Bruins were forced to skate last night without star center David Krejci, and will for some time. Krejci suffered an upper-body injury, and has been ruled out for the next two weeks. Krejci was replaced in the lineup by young forward Danton Heinen, and David Backes centered the second line.  Matt Beleskey, also known as the $3.8 million black hole, watched from the press box.

The Bruins came in with a fresh look as head coach Bruce Cassidy shifted around the lines. The change was noticeable in defensive pairings giving, Charlie McAvoy extra ice time in hopes to spark something that would clean up the defensive end.

Game notes

The first period was high paced. The momentum for a large portion of the frame was completely in the Bruins favor, some classic back and forth black and gold hockey. The Boston Bruins struck first shorthanded after Backes fired a screened shot off the glove of Martin Jones, giving Heinen a tap in rebound for his first career NHL goal and a 1-0 lead.

San Jose remained strong throughout the period. Jumbo Joe Thornton and his Sharks made it clear this game would be a fight to the final minute.  No more goals were scored and the period ended with Heinen’s tally as the only goal of the frame.

Out of the gates in the second period, everything remained evened up until ex-Bruin Thornton answered for the Sharks on the power play, tying the game 1-1. Thornton gave himself a seat at the NHL’s all-time top-20 scorers table with the goal by stuffing a rebound past Khudobin.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 26: Joe Thornton /

This goal was Thorton’s 1,398th-career point which tied him with Edmonton Oilers hall of famer Jari Kurri on the NHL’s all-time points list. The Bruins responded fast, and Thorton’s historic moment quickly was left in the dust. The hot stick of Heinen struck again, putting in his second goal of the night past Jones. The Bruins had the lead back again at 2-1.

The third period for the Bruins was a sloppy one. The Bs showed flashbacks of previous games with failed breakout attempts, loose puck turnovers, and stupid penalties. The game came down to the wire as both David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo took penalties in the final minutes. Luckily, the Sharks were unable to capitalize on the power play attempts.  The game ended with the Bruins on top, with Heinen’s two scores being the only goals the Bruins needed.

The takeaways

The penalties were nearly the death of the Bruins in this one.  Sean Kuraly took three minor penalties alone.  One of his penalties lead to the Thornton power play goal.  Perhaps that why he only played 4:26 in the game. The Sharks had 6 power plays overall, and if it weren’t for a strong penalty kill, the game result could have been much different.

Next: Solving the Second Line

Danton Heinen shined as he netted his first and second career goal. He looked like a vet on the ice by the end of the tilt, even with only 8:39 TOI. Khudobin stood on his head stopping 36 of the 37 shots he faced. The Bruins pull above .500, and into 6th place in the Atlantic divison (4-3-1). Hopefully the Bruins can ride the momentum from this good win. They faceoff Saturday night against the LA Kings at TD Garden 7:00pm ET.