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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Local Guy Overshadows Joe Thornton's Return To Boston In 4-2 San Jose Win

Well the Boston Bruins are still looking for their first win streak in the 2011-12 season.

Tonight, former No. 1 pick and franchise center Joe Thornton returned with the San Jose Sharks and they beat the Bruins 4-2 at TD Garden.

It wasn't April or May but Thornton mostly disappeared like he's been known to do in the playoffs. Sure he assisted on Joe Pavelski's (4th of the season) goal 1:12 into the game but after that, Jumbo Joe was barely heard from save for a nice highlight package on the Jumbotron (no pun intended) from his days with the spoked B.

This game marked the sixth time in a row that the Bruins have allowed the first goal. They also fell to 2-4 at home and they never led in this one despite a valiant rally in the third period.

The real hero for the Sharks (3-3-0) was Essex, MA native and Boston College alum Benn Ferriero (1st of the season) who netted the game-winning goal at 8:48 of the third period.

In a very weird way, I felt like a proud parent when Ferriero's hustle to a rebound resulted in a diving goal. He was the only pro athlete from the coverage area of the newspaper I used to work for (the Gloucester Daily Times) and that motivated me enough to sponsor his page on (look it up) last spring. So while I never enjoy seeing the B's (3-5-0) lose, on this night it didn't feel quite as bad.

You wouldn't know that San Jose was the team that played back-to-back nights on the road. They had more jump than Boston from the start and that resulted in a 1-0 lead after the first which increased to 2-0 at 8:54 of the second when Logan Couture (1st of the season) scored on a nifty pass from Martin Havlat, Ryane Clowe had the second assist.

I don't usually recommend any athletes on Twitter but you have to follow Couture (@logancouture39), he's one of the funniest and most honest pro athletes I can think of.

Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves for the second straight game, this time against Jim Vandermeer, and as usual it served as a wake-up call to his teammates and the crowd.

The B's tied it up with a flurry of goals in 29 seconds early in the third. First Milan Lucic (2nd of the season) scored a classic Looch goal by stealing Antti Niemi's (37 saves) pass behind his own net then wheeling around and beating multiple defensemen and Niemi to shovel it in. Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron assisted on that goal.

Tyler Seguin started and finished the next one as he blocked a clearance attempt by a San Jose defenseman then started a 2-on-1 with Lucic. Seguin (3rd of the season) was the recipient of the final pass and he roofed it past Niemi who had no time to react. Kelly had the second assist.

As my friend said after the game, "Lucic and Seguin are going to make sweet music together this season." I couldn't say it any better myself, they appear to be a great match and I hope to see them on the same line for years to come.

Patrick Marleau (1st of the season) added an empty-netter with five seconds left. Boston wasted a serviceable but not great performance by goaltender Tim Thomas (26 saves).

I think I've found the clue to solving the Bruins' woes so far this season: It's all about scoring more than two goals. When they've scored 3+ they are 3-0 while they are 0-5 when they have scored two (twice), one (twice) or none(0-1). It's no secret that head coach Claude Julien's system makes Boston way more strong when playing with a lead since between Thomas and their defensive ability, it's hard to come back on them. Conversely, with their up and down scoring, it's much tougher to play from behind as we have already seen time and again.

The good news is that it should not be hard for the Bruins to focus on their final two games in October: a home and home series with Montreal. The team that everybody loves to hate comes to Boston on Thursday while the B's travel to the Bell Centre on Saturday. All would quickly be forgiven if the Bruins can beat the reeling Habs (1-4-2) twice in three nights.

UPDATE 10/23: Jordan Caron has been sent down to Providence where he'll get much more ice time. He didn't played bad for the Bruins to start this season but I guess they prefer Benoit Pouliot over him at the moment. Keep your head up Jordan!

UPDATE 10/24: Caron returned to B's practice today so he just went down to Providence for one game while Boston had a lengthy break (four days) between games. Expect him to be with the Bruins on Thursday as they host the Canadiens, although he'll most likely be in the press box as a healthy scratch.

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