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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 11th (All times Eastern)

Boston Bruins (28-14-2) at San Jose Sharks (28-11-6), 10:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - It has been anything but fun times and sunshine for the Boston Bruins during their three-game tour of California.

The Bruins hope to salvage the finale of the trip on Saturday night when they try to hand the San Jose Sharks just their second home regulation loss of the season.

Boston has put itself in 3-0 holes in both games of its road trip, eventually falling 5-2 in Anaheim on Tuesday prior to Thursday's 4-2 setback versus Los Angeles. That has given the Bruins four setbacks in their last six games overall.

Tuukka Rask was chased in the second period of the loss to the Kings after giving up three goals on 18 shots. Chad Johnson made 16 saves in relief, while Justin Florek and Matt Fraser had the goals.

"We're just not getting it done right now," said Johnson. "I think we just need to regroup and take positives as much as you can from these games and realize what we have to do and can do to have success and win games. I think it just comes down to intensity and that passion to want to win games and I think it's consistently lacking right now."

Perhaps the return of one, or maybe even two, forwards will spark the Bruins.

Shawn Thornton is eligible to return from his 15-game suspension from his actions in a game versus Pittsburgh on Dec. 7, when he knocked down the Penguins' Brooks Orpik before landing some punches to the head. Orpik suffered a concussion as a result.

Thornton has three goals and 41 penalty minutes in 27 games this season.

Winger Loui Eriksson also suffered a concussion in that game versus the Penguins when he took a hard hit from Orpik and has missed the last 15 games. Eriksson has five goals and 14 points in 24 games this season and is nearing a return, perhaps as early as tonight, having recently been cleared for contact.

Rask, meanwhile, may get the chance to rebound against a Sharks club he beat in a thrilling game back on Oct. 24.

Facing San Jose for the first time, he made 38 saves and picked up the 2-1 victory when David Krejci scored with just 0.8 seconds left in regulation. Krejci also assisted on Jarome Iginla's goal.

Antti Niemi, who had won his first five career starts versus Boston, made 15 saves for San Jose and has a lifetime 1.81 goals against average versus the Bruins.

Patrick Marleau had the goal for the Sharks, who had won three in a row in this series before the loss and have taken four of the past six at home versus the Bruins.

Marleau is second on the Sharks with 20 goals this season, getting passed by Joe Pavelski after the latter scored twice in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

Pavelski has 21 goals on the season, including five in his past five games and 12 over the previous 15.

"He's been really good," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said of Pavelski. "We need to keep him that way. When the team really needs him, he elevates his game."

Dan Boyle and Andrew Desjardins each scored once, while Niemi made 24 saves. Joe Thornton added two assists for San Jose, which improved to 16-1-3 at home this season.

The Sharks have also split six games following a four-game win streak in late December.

01/11 11:28:02 ET

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