Thornton, Sharks set to visit Bruins

( - Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks return to Boston for the first time in two years, as the Bruins host Thursday's interconference battle at TD Garden.

Boston selected Thornton with the No. 1 overall pick at the 1997 draft and he spent seven-plus seasons with the Bruins before being dealt to San Jose during the 2005-06 campaign. He recorded 169 goals and 285 assists in 532 games with the Bruins.

Since the trade, Thornton has faced his former team seven times, posting two goals and three assists in those contests. The Bruins last welcomed Thornton to Beantown on Oct. 22, 2011, when he notched an assist to help the Sharks earn a 4-2 victory at TD Garden.

The 34-year-old Thornton has 11 points on one goal and 10 assists in nine games this season.

San Jose heads into Boston with an 8-0-1 record on the season and the club will try pick up a third straight win when it visits the defending Eastern Conference champions on Thursday.

The Sharks last played on Monday when they began a five-game road trip with a 1-0 shootout win over Detroit.

Logan Couture's goal in the second round of the shootout was the only time the puck found the back of the net. Couture skated in on Jimmy Howard and deked back to the forehand before snapping the puck into the left corner.

Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi had Antti Niemi beat to the left side on the next attempt, but the Sharks goaltender was able to lift his right pad and stop the shot for the win.

Niemi posted his first shutout of the season and 24th of his career to help the Sharks win for an eighth time in nine games this season. San Jose's only loss this season came in a shootout setback in Dallas last Thursday.

"It's nice to win in the shootout because we lost one in Dallas," said Couture. "Niemi really had a great night out there, and that last save he made was awesome."

The Sharks are 3-0-1 on the road this season and will make stops in Montreal, Ottawa and Los Angeles before completing this swing.

Mike Brown is expected to make his debut for the Sharks on Thursday after being acquired earlier in the week from Edmonton. Brown, who figures to add a mix of speed and toughness to San Jose's lineup, was picked up for a fourth- round pick in the 2014 draft. He had no points and 19 penalty minutes in eight games with the Oilers this season.

The Bruins enter Thursday on a three-game winning streak and the club has scored five goals in each of its past two victories, including a 5-2 triumph in Buffalo on Wednesday. Milan Lucic scored twice and added an assist as the Bruins routed the lowly Sabres at First Niagara Center.

Torey Krug also had two goals while Dougie Hamilton scored once for the Bruins, who were a perfect 3-0 on a three-game road trip. Hamilton's older brother, Freddie, will be playing Thursday for the Sharks. Freddie Hamilton, who is filling in for the injured Brent Burns, made his NHL debut Monday against Detroit.

Chad Johnson needed to stop just 14 shots for the win on Wednesday. Boston's No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected to be back between the pipes tonight.

Boston will play two straight and three of its next four tilts on home ice, where it is 2-2-0 so far this season.