BOSTON – San Jose captain Joe Thornton wasn’t alarmed by the Sharks’ season-low shot output.
The 18 shots the Sharks had against Boston were plenty as San Jose kept rolling with a 2-0 win over the Bruins on Saturday.
Rookie Logan Couture scored a power-play goal 7:22 in and Devin Setoguchi added an empty-netter with 2.1 seconds remaining to provide all the offence the Sharks needed.
“Some nights we get 45 (shots),” Thornton said. “For whatever reason, they played well, kept us on the outside. I think we were in the penalty box a little more than we should have. Good win.”
Antti Niemi earned his third shutout of the season with 26 saves. He got help from his defenders, who rescued wild rebounds before the Bruins could capitalize. Niemi hasn’t lost in regulation in eight starts.
Ryane Clowe and Marc-Edouard Vlasic assisted on both goals for San Jose, which has won seven of eight and is moving up the Western Conference playoff standings.
“It is going to be tight right down to Game 82,” Thornton said. “We have been playing well lately and we have to continue it to get into the playoffs.”
Tim Thomas had 16 saves for the Bruins, who had won three straight. The only shot Thomas didn’t get to was Couture’s backhand.
“If there’s an area that they were better than us it was in the battle. They won more battles than we did and that’s where I thought the game was decided,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I don’t think we played a bad game. It was a tight game both ways, but we need to get better along the boards.”
The Sharks’ defence was sharp all game, holding Boston scoreless in four power plays. Boston was booed by its fans on the team’s fourth advantage. The Bruins failed to record a shot during Thornton’s 2-minute tripping penalty midway through the third period.
“I thought our back end did a good job of clearing them up front, not allowing them to get inside,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. “It’s what we needed.”
Couture, who had missed two games because of the flu, put the Sharks up 1-0 with his 23rd goal. Couture took a pass from Clowe, skated across the slot and slipped a backhand past Thomas low to the stick side. The goal with 15 seconds left on a power play after Boston was called for too many men on the ice.
“Vlasic made a great play in the neutral zone to break out,” Couture said. “They had a 2-on-2 and they turned it over. He hit a great stick and kind of turned it back on an odd-man rush and we capitalized on it. I don’t know if it was a lucky bounce. I think it was just a great play.”
Niemi stopped eight shots in the first period and gave up some dangerous rebounds on many, but the Bruins couldn’t tap any into the net. Milan Lucic had the best chance off a slap shot from Zdeno Chara that bounced right to him off the post, but Lucic’s shot went across the goal.
“I think our team made it very easy for me to see the puck and block the hard ones. It wasn’t too bad,” Niemi said. “We knew they had big, strong guys and they are. They were trying to be at our net and in front, and trying to make the good screens. I think they did. I lost the pucks a few times, but I think our ‘D’ did a good job of clearing them out for me.”
Notes: The Sharks had an apparent goal taken away because of goaltender interference in the second period. … The Bruins’ previous low for shots allowed was 20 on Oct. 28 in a 2-0 win over Toronto. … The Sharks’ fewest shots taken was 19 on Jan. 1 in a 1-0 win at Los Angeles. … Chara played in his 900th NHL game. … The Sharks were playing their second of seven straight on the road.