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Bruins look to keep momentum

In years past, when the San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins faced each other -- and more so when the game was in Boston -- the hype would’ve surrounded former Bruins captain and current Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who was unceremoniously traded out of Boston in November 2005. But with the original trade now more than five years old and the last player the Bruins received in that trade, Marco Sturm, being dealt away this past December, “Jumbo Joe” wasn’t brought up much in the Bruins dressing room Friday prior to the Bruins and Sharks tilt at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon.

Only two players -- Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas -- remain from the Thornton era, and when asked to even confirm that fact, Thomas immediately answered:

“That’s a no comment; non-starter!”

Thomas was joking and was willing to talk about his former teammate but was more focused on the task at hand: playing against a talented Sharks squad that is finding its stride with two straight wins and is 6-3-1 in its past 10 games.

“That’s a great team over there and this will be a tough game,” Thomas said.

Bruins coach Claude Julien agreed and pointed to the physical side of the skilled squad that his team, looking for its fourth straight win, will face for the only time this season.

“They’re a big, strong team and, obviously, they’ve been a lot better as of late,” Julien said. “They’ve been winning more consistently now, and the back end has a good variety of speed and some skill with size and toughness. I think, a lot like [against] Dallas [on Thursday], we gotta make sure we’re on top of our game.”

After their 6-3 win over the Stars, the Bruins are still only 3-4-2 against the Western Conference and want to continue to prove they can hang with the teams from the conference many consider superior to the East.

“We’re certainly a team that’s trying to improve our record against the Western Conference, and that started [Thursday] and hopefully it’s going to continue here in the next few weeks as we face them and we face Detroit a couple of times, and make sure that we’re capable of playing against all the teams in this league,” Julien said.

Notes: Shawn Thornton left practice early Friday, but Julien said he should be fine and was just “banged up” from the rigors of the NHL season. With Thornton in and Daniel Paille suspended, here’s what the forward lines should look like Saturday based on practice Friday:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Mark Recchi

Blake Wheeler – Zach Hamill – Michael Ryder

Tyler Seguin – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton