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When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, March 22, 2012
Where: HP Pavillion at San Jose, San Jose, California
THE STORY: The San Jose Sharks take the first step toward returning to a playoff spot when they begin a three-game homestand against the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins on Thursday. San Jose, which has lost eight of 11, is 10th in the Western Conference but trails Dallas by only three points for first in the Pacific Division. The Bruins, who are kicking off a three-game road trip, own a three-point lead over Ottawa in the Northeast.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), CSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (42-27-3): Boston has lost three straight road games by a combined 17-5 score. Benoit Pouliot posted his second three-point performance of the season in Monday’s rout of Toronto. He has earned at least one point in five of his last six contests. Patrice Bergeron has gone 12 games without a goal after netting a pair against Ottawa on Feb. 25.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (36-27-10): San Jose’s offense has struggled mightily of late, scoring three goals or less in each of its last 18 games. The blame cannot be put on Martin Havlat, who has been superb since returning from a torn hamstring. After being kept off the scoresheet in his first game back, Havlat has recorded two points in each of his last three contests. Havlat has scored four goals in his last three contests. Captain Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were non-existent in the Sharks’ back-to-back losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles, combining for zero points and a minus-5 rating.
1. The Bruins are 2-5-1 in their last eight meetings with the Sharks.
2. San Jose (3-0-1) has earned at least one point in four straight against Boston.
3. The road team has won each of the last six games in the all-time series.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Bruins 2. CLICK HERE for 500 Handicappers Package FOR 5$.