Boston Bruins

The Bruins began Sunday acknowledging the wizardry and all-world skill of Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson.

They ended Sunday with their own studs on the backend, Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy, upstaging Karlsson for two highlight-reel quality strikes in a 4-0 shutout win at TD Garden.

“I don’t know if we gave up an odd-man rush that way, but I thought our best defense was our O-zone possession game,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said after the victory. “And I thought our defensemen kept a lot of pucks alive, being really aggressive. And all I know is it’s great to have an elite D corps like we do, led by Lindholm and McAvoy, who scored two unbelievable goals to get us going. I thought they led us tonight with our intensity and our puck-possession game.”

And it was the McAvoy goal that simply stole the show in this contest, too, as McAvoy took a feed from David Pastrnak from just above his own blue line and danced between Karlsson and Timo Meier and then around Mario Ferraro before he beat James Reimer for the Black and Gold’s second goal of the evening.

  • McAvoy’s goal not only doubled Boston’s lead, but also served as a worthy sequel to a game-opening marker scored by Lindholm at the 7:16 mark of the first period.

    The goal, which came with a primary assist to Brad Marchand and secondary helper from Craig Smith, saw Lindholm dance around the Sharks’ Michael Eyssimont and rip an absolute rocket through Reimer.

    “I got a lot of time there, and then I saw Bergeron kind of pop out on the left side there to me, and then I saw him kind of cheat a little bit, so I just kind of took it towards the middle,” Lindholm, who is now just three points away from matching his single-season career-high (34, set in 2014-15), said. “It’s nice to see it go in.”

    It was also good for Lindholm’s first goal since Jan. 8 against the Ducks.

  • The goal also extended the Bruins’ backend scoring streak, with five straight games featuring a goal from a Bruins defenseman. That scoring party kicked off with goals in back-to-back games for Matt Grzelcyk, continued with Derek Forbort and McAvoy on Long Island, was extended by Connor Clifton in New York, and then rolled on with Sunday’s tallies from McAvoy and Lindholm.

    That five-game run is the longest scoring run from the Boston blue line since a five-game run in Mar. 2014.

    And if you’d like to quick stroll down memory lane, the scorers during that streak for the Bruins: Johnny Boychuk, Andrej Meszaros and Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, Chara again, and then Krug again.

  • But the Bruins were not tormenting the Sharks.

    A beautiful tip-in goal by Nick Foligno — and off a Lindholm shot from the point — pushed the Boston edge to 3-0 before the end of the second period. The Foligno tally also came with a secondary helper for Joona Koppanen, which was good for the fourth-line fill-in’s first career point (and in just his third NHL game).

    And in the third, the Bruins added a fourth goal when the Sharks simply let David Pastrnak hang out in his office with the Bruins up a man, and paid for it by way of Pastrnak’s 36th goal of the season.

  • In net, Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark would’ve had the full 60-minute shutout had it not been for a skate issue that lifted him from this contest for about three minutes of play.

    That summoned Jeremy Swayman into action, and Swayman did his part, with one save on as many shots faced before Ullmark returned for his net for the remainder of the third period.

    It was the Black and Gold’s first combined shutout in over 21 years.