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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bruins Can Take Something Positive Out of the California Trip After a 1-0 Win in San Jose

An 0-3 road trip by the Bruins in California would have been borderline disastrous (in terms of perception) and something they would have to talk about for the rest of the season. Instead, Boston (29-14-2) showed some mental toughness this evening with a 1-0 win vs. San Jose (28-12-6) at the SAP Center. PS this was only the second loss in regulation at home for the Sharks this season, why is it so hard to win in California?

Tuukka Rask (22-11-2) made 26 saves in his NHL-best fifth shutout of the season. After losing 5-2 to Anaheim and getting pulled after three goals in a 4-2 loss to Los Angeles, Rask needed this win more than anyone on the Bruins to show that he's not breaking down or in a true slump. The fact that he did this against his Finland teammate Antti Niemi had to give him some extra motivation, he should be the starter in Sochi.

This wasn't a particularly exciting contest except for Carl Soderberg's goal at 12:25 of the third period. Loui Eriksson's shot was deflected to Soderberg and he was able to bang in the rebound past Niemi (21 saves) for his sixth goal of the season. Eriksson recorded an assist in his first game back since December 7. If that date sounds familiar, it was also when Shawn Thornton lost his mind and beat the hell out of Brooks Orpik. Ironically, Thornton returned to the lineup tonight too.

Rookie Kevan Miller fought goon Mike Brown for his first career NHL fight (the 10th Bruin to drop the gloves this season which has to be at or near the top of the league) in the second period. Patrice Bergeron hit the post earlier in the third period on a Bruins power play. With the win, Boston swept (2-0) San Jose in the season series after a 2-1 win at TD Garden on October 24 (David Krejci scored in the last second of play).

Boston returns to TD Garden on Tuesday (7, NESN) to face the Maple Leafs (21-20-5, 6th in Atlantic Division). Toronto's season is unraveling (four straight losses) so the Bruins have to be careful not to let them get back on the winning track.

UPDATE 1/12: The Bruins sent forward Mark Fraser back to Providence.

UPDATE 1/14: Dougie Hamilton has a concussion so he's out for tonight's game vs. Tornto (7, NESN).

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