There’s so little in life we can truly control. Every day, our lives are impacted in millions of subtle ways by forces totally beyond our control, whether it’s technology, nature, or just the choices of others.
Often, finding contentment can mean simply accepting the chaos all around us. But even with that mind, it’s comforting to know there’s a thing or two we can just count on.
Just as the sun rises in the east, so to do we find the Montreal Canadiens looking for a win going into game two of their California road trip.
How to Watch
Puck drop: 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT
In the Canadiens region: SNE (English), RDS (French)
In the Sharks region: CSN-CA
Tale of the Tape
|50.89||Score-Adjusted Corsi %||52.90|
|1.38||5v5 Goal Ratio||1.02|
Going back as far as 2011, the Habs’ pattern in California is clear. Play through hard-fought losses to the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, and get blown out by the San Jose Sharks.
The 2011 game was actually the closest. The Habs held 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 leads, including goals from Mike Cammalleri and Erik Cole, before heading into a shootout tied at 3. When P.K. Subban’s attempt in the 12th round was unsuccessful, the Sharks took home the extra point.
There was no danger of extra time in 2012, as the Habs let the game get away from them en route to a 4-0 loss. Four Habs, including the typically pacifistic Lars Eller, were handed 10-minute misconducts as things unraveled.
In 2015, the score was again 4-0, this time with all four goals coming against Carey Price. In the process, the Sharks made themselves one of only five teams to score four or more goals against CP31 in the calendar year.
And that brings us to last year, when any hopes of a Montreal victory were dashed with two San Jose goals early in the third period. There are a few teams that the Habs have consistently defeated over the last few years, but suffice it to say that the San Jose Sharks are not one of them.
This year’s Canadiens have a chance to buck that trend. Price is again at the top of his game, and the team in front of him isn’t missing any major pieces. If someone like Max Pacioretty, who’s never scored against the Sharks before, can exert some offensive pressure to complement the always dangerous Galchenyuk-Radulov duo, these Habs may be able to challenge the Sharks in their own end in a way that recent iterations of the Tricolore could not.
Of course, there’s a few reasons that the Sharks are the defending Western Conference champions, not the least of which is that they have some pretty solid depth themselves. The team ranks among the league’s top three in possession, and has a top-10 penalty kill to boot.
The last line of defence is goaltender Martin Jones. Jones’s numbers have dropped off a little bit from last season, placing him in the bottom-third of NHL starters in even-strength save percentage to start the 2016-17 campaign. Jones has a pretty good excuse - he’s played 80 NHL regular season games in the past 11 months - but it’s probably safe to say that Montreal will take every advantage they can get tonight.
With a track record like the one they’ve put together over the last five years, the Habs will need all the help they can get.