The appeal of a six-game homestand is right around the corner for the scuffling San Jose Sharks. Before they get there, though, they’ll have to face perhaps the hottest team in the NHL.
The Sharks conclude a five-game trek against Atlantic Division teams when they travel to Boston to take on the Bruins on Tuesday night. San Jose has lost four of its last five games (1-3-1) and is still struggling to get on track defensively to this point of the season.
Boston, meanwhile, has lost just once in regulation in its first 11 games and comes in off a 7-4 rout of the New York Rangers. No team in the Eastern Conference has allowed fewer goals than the Bruins (24).
A Stanley Cup contender last season, the Sharks have looked anything but through their first 12 games. San Jose has allowed four or more goals eight times thus far while scoring two or fewer on six occasions.
Against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, the Sharks gave up a pair of goals in both the first and second periods to dig themselves a deep hole. Netminder Aaron Dell was pulled at the conclusion of the second period.
“We’re playing from behind in a lot of these games,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said, “and instead of sticking with it and trusting the group and the system, everyone wants to step out and fix it themselves, but it doesn’t work that way. So eventually you have to learn that lesson.”
Captain Logan Couture was critical of the offense, calling on himself and the team’s other top scorers to lend more production.
“I can’t be sitting at one goal right now,” Couture said. “(Tomas Hertl’s) at three, (Timo Meier’s) at two. We’ve got to score some more goals.”
On the plus side, the Sharks killed all four power plays they faced in the contest, improving their league-leading penalty kill to 93.2 percent. That’ll come in handy against the No. 2 power play in the league in the Bruins.
Surprisingly, none of Boston’s seven goals against New York on Sunday came on the man advantage, ending a run of six consecutive games with a power-play conversion. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the scoring came from the team’s “Perfection Line,” with Brad Marchand (two goals, three assists) and David Pastrnak (five assists) overshadowing a Patrice Bergeron hat trick.
Marchand extended his points streak to 10 games, while Pastrnak has scored in nine straight.
“Right now, we’re confident each night and we’re just kind of rolling it over into the next game,” said Marchand. “Hopefully it continues.”
The Bruins will complete a span of three games in four days. Tuukka Rask, fresh off a shutout of the defending champion St. Louis Blues on Saturday, is expected in net.
Boston might also receive a boost from the return of David Krejci, who has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Saturday that Tuesday was “looking good” for the forward.
After relieving Dell on Sunday, Martin Jones is likely to start in net for San Jose. Jones has allowed at least four goals in five of his eight starts this season.
Boston has beat San Jose in six straight meetings dating back to the 2016-17 season.
–Field Level Media