Their defense allowed them to hold a 71-43 edge in shot attempts and 39-17 in those that made it on goal. They controlled the game even without winning the possession battles: 24-33 deficit in the circle, 8-12 on takeaways and 3-6 on giveaways adds up to 10 extra possessions for the Boston Bruins.
Because it was the Sharks on the attack, the Bruins also held an 18-13 edge in blocked shots. That actually represents a smaller percentage of shots attempted (25.3 vs. 30.2 percent) and a lower ratio of blocks to shots that got through to the net (one per 2.2 vs. 1.3 shots).
In their own end for much of the night, Boston turned to physical play. Captain Zdeno Chara got away with a check to the head of Tommy Wingels that ended the forward's night and a cross-check to the mouth of Tomas Hertl. The NHL has to decide if it is going to be serious in stopping shots to the head even if it means disciplining a star—or giving a sentence of more than five games to Maxim Lapierre who will never be mistaken for a star—but the reality for this game was a net loss of one power play since the penalty on Jarome Iginla was iffy.
Rather than this approach taxing the Bruins late because they also played Wednesday, they got stronger as the game went on. When Iginla scored against San Jose yet again in his first meeting with them since being traded from the Calgary Flames, it was their 10th shot with just 1:12 left on the second period clock.
Tuukka Rask turned away 25 shots to that point to keep his team in the game, among which were multiple highlight-reel saves. Antti Niemi had one of his own while staving off going cold, and the goal came on a rebound as he was moving into place.
The Sharks responded on the first shift of the third period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot the puck in and Patrick Marleau scored his sixth goal in his last seven games when he put in the rebound 18 seconds after intermission. It was his ninth game with a point in the 10 played so far this 2013-14 NHL season.
With San Jose on the attack in the final 20 seconds of regulation, at least one point seemed nearly certain. Boston got the puck back and Milan Lucic set up Adam McQuaid for a final point-shot that David Krejci tipped through the five-hole of Niemi with less than a second on the clock.
The Sharks lost this game because of the performance of two Bruins. San Jose deserves a player to round out the Examiner three stars, but picking one in a solid team effort was difficult:
- Rask was unbelievable. There was nothing he could do on the one goal and he stopped the other 38 shots (.974 save percentage). This would have been a San Jose win against almost anyone else.
- Krejci had an assist on the first goal and got the Bruins a regulation win on his deflection, giving him three shots on five attempts. He also won 10 of 14 draws and had two hits plus one block, giveaway and takeaway.
- Hertl got three of four shots on net, had two takeaways and four hits—all against players bigger than him: Chara (6 ft. 9 in., 255 lbs.), Lucic (6 ft. 3 in., 235 lbs.) and Johnny Boychuck twice (6 ft. 2 in., 225 lbs.), meaning his targets were an average of two inches and 25 pounds larger.