Sharks look to extend perfect start vs. Bruins

NHL

It’s been eight years since the San Jose Sharks opened a season with five consecutive victories. And, nearly as long since they beat the Boston Bruins.

The Sharks look to continue their undefeated start when they visit the Bruins on Sunday.

San Jose has been one of the surprise teams through the early days of the 2021-22 campaign. Logan Couture had two goals with an assist and Adin Hill made 30 saves as the Sharks won a third straight game on the road, 5-3 at Toronto on Friday.

Outscoring opponents 16-7, San Jose is trying to go 5-0-0 for the first time since the 2013-14 season. It’s a pleasant beginning for a club that felt good about itself entering this season, despite not having made the playoffs since 2018-19.

“It’s huge to start like this,” Couture, who’s recorded all three of his goals in the last two games, told the official NHL website. “That was the main focus in training camp, to get off to a good start this year.

“We really had a good camp, a really good preseason and we’ve carried into the regular season.”

In addition to Couture’s strong play, veteran defenseman Erik Karlsson has notched two goals with four assists. Hill, meanwhile, has stopped 71 of the 77 shots he’s faced to win his first three starts. Backup James Reimer made 30 saves in a 2-1 victory at Ottawa on Thursday.

San Jose’s hot start, however, will truly be put to the test in this contest. Though these teams haven’t met since Oct. 29, 2019, the Sharks are 0-5-2 against the Bruins since a 3-2 home victory on March 15, 2016. Their most recent victory at Boston came on Nov. 15, 2016.

The Bruins have won two of their first three games of the season, and halted Buffalo’s 3-0-0 start with Friday’s 4-1 road victory. Members of Boston’s famed “Perfection Line,” David Pastrnak tallied his first goal of the season Friday while Patrice Bergeron assisted on the first-period score for his first points of 2021-22.

Boston also got a goal and two assists at Buffalo from center Charlie Coyle, his first points of the campaign. Coyle scored in the team’s most recent meeting with San Jose.

“Happy for him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of Coyle. “(He found) a little offensive rhythm.”

Boston star Brad Marchand is already feeling it with three goals and two assists. He’s totaled four goals with four assists in his last six home games vs. San Jose.

After Linus Ullmark made 35 saves against his former Buffalo team Friday in his Boston debut, it’s possible starter Jeremy Swayman will be back in net for this contest. Swayman stopped 27 of 28 shots in a 3-1 season-opening home victory, but then allowed five goals during Wednesday’s 6-3 defeat at Philadelphia.

Couture has two goals with an assist in his last three games against the Bruins.

Boston could again be minus veteran forward Nick Foligno, who is in his first season with the team, but missed Friday’s game with an upper-body injury.

“We should know by Sunday,” Cassidy told the Bruins’ official website of Foligno’s availability. “I suspect he’ll miss Sunday, as well.”

–Field Level Media

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