The Boston Bruins continued their reign over the NHL after shutting out the San Jose Sharks 4-0 at TD Garden. Boston extended its winning streak to five games and improved its home record to 22-1-3. Fans had to be in their seats early to ensure they didn’t miss any action.
Brandon Carlo started things off 27 seconds into the game when he dropped the gloves with Timo Meier. Neither player is very familiar with the fisticuffs, but it was good to see Carlo be physical in his first time back on the ice since getting injured blocking a shot against the New York Rangers.
Carlo has fought six times in his career, but since this was just the second fighting major in Meier’s career, he had no problem initiating the skirmish. It’s rare to see a hockey fight these days, so a willingness to drop the gloves is all needed to inject excitement into the game.
The Bruins gained momentum from the fight and carried the play through the game’s first few minutes. Defensively, Boston did a great job shutting down any early scoring chances for the Sharks and even chipped in on the offensive end of the ice.
Hampus Lindholm got the B’s on the board first with his sixth goal of the season. Lindholm’s production had been quiet since the start of the new year. After scoring a goal against his former team in Anaheim, Lindholm struggled to generate much in the offensive zone, recording one assist until his snipe past James Reimer.
He’s now three points shy of a new career-high. Lindholm’s beauty of a goal must have inspired the rest of the defensemen during the first intermission. Just over four minutes into the second period, Charlie McAvoy scored what may have been the prettiest goal of his career.
McAvoy took advantage of the extra ice available in the 4-on-4 situation by exploding his way through the neutral zone and using his momentum to get past a pair of San Jose defenders. His poise with the puck in the tightest of areas allowed him to finish off a silky move.
The Bruins got even more offense from their defenseman when Nick Foligno tipped Hampus Lindholm’s shot for his seventh goal of the season. Props to Joona Koppanen, who also recorded the first point of his career on this play with an assist.
Boston carried a three-goal lead into the final period and would get the chance to extend its lead early after Mario Ferraro was given two minutes for elbowing. McAvoy made San Jose pay for the infraction when he located David Pastrnak in his money spot on the power play.
Pastrnak is now second in the league in goals with 36 and is fourth in points with 65. After officially being named an All-Star last week, we may need to start asking just how serious of a contender he is to win the Hart.
Linus Ullmark stopped all 17 shots he faced but would not get credit for his third shutout of the season. Jeremy Swayman played 148 seconds and made one save while Ullmark was getting his equipment repaired. Tough draw for a guy who is setting records between the pipes. Ullmark has won 25 of his first 28 games, making him the fastest goalie to 25 wins in NHL history.
The Bruins are now 37-5-4 and lead the NHL with 78 points. Boston begins a five-game road trip on Tuesday night when it visits the Montreal Canadiens for the first time this season. The Habs are last in the Atlantic Division with just 43 points.
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