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Can the B's swim with the Sharks?

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The Bruins are set to play the most hyped up B's regular season game in recent memory when they host the San Jose Sharks tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden. It's the best team in the Eastern Conference vs. the best team in the Western Conference in what many are prematurely calling a Stanley Cup preview. As if the two best teams in the league facing off against each other isn't enough of a story for you, there is the subplot of Joe Thornton returning to Boston. Tonight will be Jumbo Joe's second trip to boston after being shipped out West by Mike O'Connell. If you remember, his first trip back to The Garden only lasted 5 minutes and 13 seconds after he was shown the door for an intent to injury penalty on a borderline hit from behind on Hal Gill.

Just who are these Sharks you speak of?
San Jose Sharks 36-7-7; 79 pts (1st in Pacific, 1st in West)

Leading Goal Scorers

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Patrick Marleau 26 27 53 22 10

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Devin Setoguchi 21 24 45 16 6


2008 - Evgeni Nabokov 39 2328 27 6 6 0 94 2.42 1040 946 .910 4

2008 - Brian Boucher 12 704 9 1 1 1 22 1.88 300 278 .927 2

Guys Who Like to Drop the Gloves
Jody Shelley: 10 Fighting Majors (Injured)
Ryane Clowe: 5 Fighting Majors

'08-'09 Season Series
First and only meeting this season

Injury Report

LW Marco Strum: IR (Knee)
RW Michael Ryder: Out (Facial Fracture)
D Aaron Ward: Probable (Flu)

San Jose
C Torrey Mitchell: IR (Leg)
D Brad Lukowich: Out (Sports Hernia)
C Jeremy Roenick: IR (Shoulder)
LW Jody Shelley: Out (Lower Body)


- Tim Thomas will get the start in goal tonight for the Bruins.

- Although this will serve as a barometer for where the Bruins are at, we have to remember that this is just a regular season game in February against a non-conference opponent.

- Is Claude Lemieux killing the Sharks? The Sharks have lost 3 straight (0-1-2) for the first time all season. The 43 year old winger has played in six games for the Sharks since being called up from Worcester. He has averaged 7:25 of ice time a game and has not record a point yet. I'm not sure why the Sharks thought this guy could help their team. I could see if they were a losing team that was struggling to draw fans, but they are the best team in the Western Conference.

- Maybe Milan Lucic or Shawn Thornton will recreate the famous scene where Claude Lemieux turtled and Cam Neely threw him like a ragdoll into the corner.

- Anybody that boos Joe Thornton tonight is an idiot. This isn't like Johnny Damon coming back to Fenway in pinstripes. Joe Thornton wanted to stay in Boston but the Bruins brass needed someone to pin the blame on for their own incompetence for letting most of Thornton's supporting cast walk after the lockout.

- The Sharks have called up left wing Jamie McGinn to fill in for the injured Jody Shelley.

- Hockey fans in Boston will not get the pleasure of watching their native son and all-time great video game athlete Jeremy Roenick play tonight. Roenick is out with a shoulder injury.

- The Sharks practiced at Boston University this week. No word if former BU standout Mike Grier took in last night's Beanpot Final.

- Open thread starts at 6:00

- Don't forget tonight's game is on Versus.

- For more on the Sharks, check out Fear The Fin

Today's Obligatory Embarrassing YouTube Fan Video