The Boston Bruins and the San Jose Sharks will be meeting for the 25th time in their lifetime series, tonight, at the hp Pavilion at 10:30pm EST. Boston holds a 13-6-5 record against San Jose and an 83-68 scoring edge – including a 6-4-2 record and a 40-31 scoring advantage in San Jose.
The red hot Sharks [30-10-7, 67 points] sit in first-place in the Pacific Division, Western Conference, and NHL. 8-2-0 in their last 10, San Jose has also won 11 of its last 13 contests to remain atop the totem poll in the league.
Patrick Marleau’s 30 goals [31-18-49] plus-18, and 167 shots on goal leads all Sharks in each of the three respective categories. No. 12 has posted a scoring line of 6-2-8 totals, a plus-4, and 25 shots on goal in his last six games. Not too bad for having his captaincy stripped away from him at the beginning of the season.
Former Bruin and MVP, Joe Thornton, continues his torrid scoring pace once again this season. Lighting the lamp 11 times through 47 games this season, Jumbo Joe leads all San Jose players with assists  and points .
Those numbers are certainly aided with the acquisition of 28-year-old All Star Dany Heatley. The two-time 50 goal scorer leads the team in goals  and had 51 points through 47 games on the season. The German sniper has 3-2-5, a plus-1, and 18 shots on goal in his last four games.
Between the pipes for the Sharks – a Vezina Trophy candidate for the season – Evgeni Nabokov has played in 41 of the Sharks’ 47 games this season. The 34-year-old netminder has notched 26 wins- [2nd in the NHL] for a 26-7-7 record with a .924 save-percentage and 2.29 goals-against average.
Meanwhile, the Black and Gold are coming off a heartbreaking 4-3 loss last night from the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. Now having dropped four of their last five games and three in a row, the Bruins – 22-16-7, 51 points on the season – are still holding on to that second spot in the Northeast Division and fifth seed overall in the East. Just five points separate the fifth-place Bruins to the 12th seeded Tampa Bay Lightning  – and only three points ahead of the Ottawa Senators [8th], Montreal Canadiens [9th], and New York Islanders [10th] whom are all tied with 46 points.
Turnovers in the defensive zone and their inability to clear the puck resulted with another notch in the “L” column last night. Boston did a great job on the forecheck, putting pressure on the Ducks’ D while creating good scoring chances – including two goals which were a direct result from strong forechecking. The Bruins’ also had some solid goaltending from Tuukka Rask last night [28 of 32 saves] which kept the Bruins in it, but not enough.
The back-end of the Bruins must do a better job with the simple stuff tonight against the top team in the NHL. Clearing the puck out of their own end and through the neutral zone – clearing the traffic/rebounds in front of their own crease – and most importantly, puck possession: not turning the puck over.
Mark Recchi, while playing out of his normal position [W] did a nice job at center last night. He was probably the best forward who had a Spoked “B” on his chest, notching two assists. The 41-year-old has 1-3-4 totals in his last four games.
The game-breaker tonight on the blue-line will be Zdeno Chara. No. 33 led all Bruins last night in time on ice [nearly 27 minutes] hits  and shots on goal  while netting his fourth goal of the season.
It’s going to take a full-team effort tonight with a near perfect execution from the Bruins to take down the mighty Sharks.