The Bruins surrendered the lead on a pair of Sharks goals late in the second period, but regrouped to score the only three goals of the third, securing a 5-3 win over the Sharks at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
Seth Griffith’s first goal in the NHL made it 3-3 in the final frame. Antti Niemi couldn’t quite get a grip on a loose puck pinballing around several skate blades in front of the net, and it popped out to Griffith, who hurled it in at 4:50.
A rare misplay by the Sharks’ top defense pair allowed the Bruins to score the game-winner. Justin Braun appeared to have time in the corner while retrieving the puck, and tried rimming it to Marc-Edouard Vlasic behind the net. Vlasic lost his stick and couldn’t handle the disc, though, allowing Gregory Campbell to slip in a puck directed towards the net from Daniel Paille at 10:42.
The Sharks had a golden opportunity to tie the game late in the third period, but couldn’t capitalize on a double-minor for high-sticking to Patrice Bergeron at 15:51, when Bergeron caught Braun with a high-stick.
Instead, David Krejci’s shorthanded, empty-net goal at 19:35 put it away for Boston.
The Sharks concluded a five-game road trip with a 2-2-1 mark, including regulation losses in the final two. They are 4-2-1 overall.
A pair of power play goals had the Bruins up 2-1 in the second period, and Boston was playing with a territorial edge before the Sharks took their first lead with a pair of markers just 37 seconds apart.
Logan Couture, who also tallied in the first period, put the finishing touches on some nifty stick work by Patrick Marleau in front of the goal crease. Marleau set up Couture in perfect scoring position, and Couture flung it in at 16:12 of the middle frame. Couture finished with a game-high eight shots on goal, and oddly just took one faceoff.
Joe Thornton’s second goal of the season gave San Jose a 3-2 edge at 16:57. Joe Pavelski forced Reilly Smith into a turnover just inside the blue line, and floated one towards a net and a charging Thornton. The former Bruins and Sharks captain bunted it in out of midair for his third goal in 10 games against his former club.
The teams combined for 31 shots in the second period, with the Bruins holding a slim 16-15 edge. The Sharks outshot the Bruins for the game, 34-33.
Boston took the lead at 13:57 of the first period, when Brad Marchand walked in from the point and beat Niemi short side with Brent Burns in the penalty box. It was the first goal the Sharks have allowed in the first period this season.
A Sharks power play goal equalized it. At 16:28, Couture got in front of the net and tipped in a Marleau floater through Tuukka Rask. The Bruins re-took the lead at 6:54 of the second on a Torey Krug power play goal with Krejci appearing to set a screen on Niemi.
Sharks forward James Sheppard made his season debut, skating as the third line center. Sheppard had a clean up procedure in the offseason on his previously injured left knee.
San Jose featured all new forward lines after getting shut out at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Thornton was with Pavelski and Matt Nieto, while Couture, Marleau and Tommy Wingels formed the second line. Sheppard centered Tomas Hertl and Andrew Desjardins, while the fourth line was comprised of Adam Burish, Eriah Hayes and John Scott.
The highlight of the game for the Sharks may have been Wingels flattening big Zdeno Chara behind the net in the third period. Chara knocked Wingels out of a game in Boston last season with a borderline high check into the glass.
San Jose was 1-for-3, and has at least one power play goal in five of seven games, but couldn’t come through when it mattered most late in the third.
The Sharks gave up multiple power play goals for the second time this season, including against New Jersey on Saturday. Boston was 2-fo-3.
Niemi lost his first game of the season to fall to 3-1-0, allowing four goals on 32 shots.
A fellow Finn, Rask is a perfect 3-0-0 against the Sharks in his career with 31 saves.
Sharks rookies Mirco Mueller and Chris Tierney were scratched, as was Tye McGinn. For Tierney and McGinn, it was the first game either missed so far this season.
Mueller sat for the second time this season after struggling against the Rangers.
The Sharks return home on Thursday night to host the Columbus Blue Jackets in just their second home game, and stick around Saturday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres.
A three-game road trip starts Sunday with the first meeting of the year against Anaheim, and continues with stays in Colorado and Minnesota.