SAN JOSE, Calif. – Tim Thomas looked up to see NHL goal leader Patrick Marleau preparing for his shootout attempt. The Boston goalie was both nervous and determined.
“It crossed my mind that Marleau had a lot of good chances in the game and I was able to stop him, but a good player like that he’s liable to break out at any time,” Thomas said after Bruins beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in a shootout Thursday night.
“At the same time I was thinking we had come too far and put in too much work not to get rewarded and it was left up to me.”
Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara scored the only goal in a shootout, and Thomas ignored his nerves long enough to make the final save.
Daniel Paille scored in regulation, and Thomas stopped 41 shots to help the Bruins end a three-game losing streak. Thomas has won four of his last five road games.
“This is an important time for us,” Thomas said. “We’re down in manpower and when you put in the amount of work we did tonight, to get rewarded with two points is nice. Whether it will help us at the end of the season, we’ll find out.”
The Bruins played without centres Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard for the third straight game.
“It was a huge statement game for us, especially with so many challenges facing us,” Chara said. “Our top centres are missing and we had to sacrifice everything for the team. It was small parts that led to a big difference.”
Joe Thornton scored for the Sharks, and Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves. Dany Heatley assisted on Thornton’s goal, giving him seven points in his last seven games.
“Tim Thomas played well and made all the saves he needed,” Thornton said. “I thought both goalies saved each team at some point in the game.”
Paille gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 2:50 of the second period. Shawn Thornton stole a pass at the blue line and got it to Paille, who tipped the puck past Nabokov.
“It’s all about competing every game throughout the whole game,” Paille said. “It was pretty exciting. We got some bounces with certain play and Timmy was outstanding.”
Thornton scored his second career goal against his former team to tie it. Dan Boyle took a hard shot that bounced in front of the net. After Heatley got a stick on it, Thornton slapped it into the net at 9:56 of the second.
“The puck was bobbling around and I took a whack at it,” Thornton said. “It was a balanced game and we were getting good looks.”
After the first six shooters failed in the tiebreaker, Chara scored in the fourth round and Thomas ended the game when he blocked Marleau’s shot.
“When you go for a shootout you have to do what you do best,” Chara said. “I decided to pick a side and fired.”
NOTES: No penalties were called during the first two periods. … Paille recorded his first point in 10 games. … Heatley has 40 points in 40 games against the Bruins. … Boston D Mark Stuart (broken sternum) practiced but missed his 14th game. The Sharks have killed 19 of 20 penalties since allowing three power-play goals to Los Angeles on Jan. 4. … The Bruins have not allowed more than one power-play goal in a game since Oct. 17. … Marleau had scored six goals in his last six games before getting shut out.