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Canadiens vs. Sharks Top Six Minutes: Jones’ California Nightmare

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The Habs put a lot of rubber towards Jones, but only managed to beat him once.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.

First Period

  • I actually remember that last game the Habs won in San Jose. I was thirteen and stayed up late to watch it with my brother. Unbeknownst to our parents we snuck to the rec room and watched til the end, at which point the school bus was mere hours from arriving. We didn’t care, since the Habs won, which was rare in those days.
  • Everyone knows, that like Samson, Brent Burns gets his power from his hair. Cut that beard off and see what happens. Anyway, he scores the opening goal of the game on a precise one-timer from above the faceoff circle to put the Sharks up 1-0 about five minutes in.
  • Always Radulov. I haven’t seen a Habs player who so often creates something out of nothing in my twenty years of watching hockey. Maybe someone can tell me if there’s been anyone. Around the nine-minute mark, he’s zooming around the Sharks zone and finds Paul Byron down low, who, with all the confusion caused by Radulov’s manic skating, finds Alex Galchenyuk all alone cross-crease. If not for a spectacular save by Martin Jones, the Habs would have tied it right there.
  • Alexei Emelin is getting a reputation for being a bit of a dirty hitter. Meritted or not, he doesn’t help his cause fourteen minutes into the period when he lays out Kevin Labanc in the defensive-zone corner after the puck had already passed by them. To me, it was a hungry hit, but very poorly timed. I don’t think Emelin sought to illegally hurt Labanc on the play, he just misjudged the situation
  • Well, so much for being down by just one to end the period. After responding well to giving up the first goal early, the Canadiens surrender a two-on-one to one of the best one-two punches in modern NHL history - “The Joes” - with Thornton making the pass over to Pavelski to put the Sharks up by two.
  • Michel Therrien does preach that you need to score at least three goals in a game to win. Good on his team for doing what it takes to prove their coach right.

Second Period

  • This is going to be a big challenge. The Sharks have only allowed more than two goals in a game twice in the last thirteen games going back to the beginning of November.
  • Martin Jones has had a lot to do with that, and is again tonight. He’s been very good this season with a 2.04 goals against average and .921 save percentage before the start of tonight’s game.
  • Max Pacioretty, Brian Flynn and Alex Radulov play a shift together. I don’t know if it was an accident. I mean, it had to be right? It leads to a Pacioretty chance with Radulov finding him all alone in front of the net only to be robbed by Martin Jones.
  • Okay, okay... A few minutes later and Michel Therrien is trying Max Pacioretty on the first line. Artturi Lehkonen is now on the second line with Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec. There seems to be a method behind the madness, as thought Michel Therrien is just trying to create better match-ups by mixing things up.
  • While Martin Jones is getting most of the attention in this writeup, Carey Price is also having a stellar game. What’s new? He is the constant that keeps the Canadiens in every game. With three minutes left in the period he makes an incredible blocker save on a breakaway so the mountain to climb for the win isn’t an impossible ascent in the third period.
  • Oh, make that two breakaways, as he flashes the glove on another with under twenty seconds left in the period. You can buy a Thank You card for your favourite goaltender here.

Third Period

  • How much would someone need to pay you to stand in front of Shea Weber’s slapshot? Well I looked up Justin Braun’s salary and it’s $3.8 million a year. He earned every penny by blocking a Weber bullet one minute into the period.
  • So much for that powerplay. Max Pacioretty takes a slashing penalty midway through. Probably not something he wanted to do there with his team trailing by two with just over twelve-and-a-half minutes left in the game.
  • Here come more odd-man rushes as the Habs start to take risks... and here come the Carey Price saves.
  • Can the Habs score twice in under five minutes? I’ve seen crazier things happen. Actually, it’s getting kind of late, I’m pretty tired and I’ve been staring into a computer screen way too much today...There’s a good chance I start seeing things before the night is through.
  • The Canadiens get a four-minute powerplay, but I wish they didn’t. Alex Radulov sacrifices an eye to Logan Couture’s hockey stick, and had to be helped off the ice bleeding profusely.
  • I’m not sure what the breakout strategy is on the powerplay. One guy skates it up the ice really fast while the other four coast into position. It takes a while for the Habs to set up, but once they finally do Artturi Lehkonen (who was put on in place Alex Radulov) is able to spin one home with 1:17 left in the period.
  • Time for some last minute heroics... who will it be? Who will score the glorious game-tying goal with only moments remaining on the — oh.. game over. The Habs played well but don’t come away with the win. It’s back to the drawing board for Sunday’s clash with the Kings.

EOTP 3 Stars:

Third star: Turns out all you need is a SuperFinn

Second star: It sure was/does.

First star: That is a very, very long time.

Habs Highlight of the Night:

Carey Price doing Carey Price things