On Sunday night, the Montreal Canadiens looked to string two wins together after their recent losing streak. The good news for them was that the San Jose Sharks also played the previous night against a Senators team that managed six goals against what was predicted to be one of the best defences of the league this season.
There was a lot of pace to the game right from the start, as the Sharks got an odd-man rush after some confusion in the neutral zone. A well-timed slide from Jordie Benn, who was in need of a bounce-back performance, saved the day.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Justin Braun skated up to the top of left face-off circle and fired one past Carey Price’s blocker — a goal #31 would want to have back.
Defence was not on the mind of either team in those first few minutes, and Max Domi got in on a 2-on-1 with Andrew Shaw after another neutral-zone turnover. Domi rifled it glove-side, but Martin Jones tracked it well.
Mikey Reilly went to the box for a hit from behind and Michael Chaput followed him a minute later for a high stick. It looked like a pivotal moment in the game already as Burns found the back of the net with a top-shelf snipe with time remaining on the 5-on-3.
Following a too-many-men penalty, the Habs got a power-play chance of their own. They prepared Shea Weber’s slap-shot, and he ripped it so hard that it destroyed the top of the Sharks’ goalie’s stick.
There were no other real scoring opportunities with a man advantage, but immediately after the return to 5-on-5, Byron knocked at the door, forcing Jones — who had already emerged as a key factor in the game — to extend the pad and barely close the opening. It was a good push-back from the Habs in this second half of the first.
At the start to the second period, Kenny Agostino circled behind the net in the offensive zone and got hit, taking some time to rise back on his feet. He headed for the dressing room.
After a few great Martin Jones saves, it was Carey Price's turn to step up and keep his team in the game. He stopped a breakaway with the tip of his pad and a beautiful slide, giving his team an influx of energy.
The Habs continued to buzz, and after some back-and-forth, a few fortunate bounces, and extended offensive-zone pressure, Jeff Petry hit Jones’s mask and found the back of the net off of the rebound to make it a 2-1 game.
Unfortunately, the Habs defence continued to struggle despite the offensive sparks. They forgot Joe Pavelski in front of the net, and the Sharks regained their two-goal lead.
Weber got called for a penalty after a huge hit in the neutral zone. To make matters worse, Petry shot the puck into the netting all the way behind the Sharks’ net. It was another 5-on-3, and Claude Julien wasn’t happy.
The Habs won the face-off, and killed the first penalty. Price made a huge save and the period ended with just a few short-handed seconds left.
They killed off the rest of the penalty at the start of the third, and started generating offensive chances. The Sharks were very good at clearing rebounds from in front of Jones’ cage. Otherwise, Montreal would have netted at least one goal toward the comeback effort.
Around the 12-minute mark, Jesperi Kotkaniemi made a beautiful pass to Paul Byron on a zone entry. Byron got in alone but was stopped by Jones.
The Sharks attacked the other way, installed their offensive-zone presence, and Price impressed with a glove save. On the resulting face-off, Reilly out-skated a confused opposing defence to walk right up to the net and get his own crack at Jones, but to no avail.
In the second half of the third, it was all Habs on the offence. The Sharks are turtling, and the Domi line is constantly pressuring, leading to Petry being tripped.
Montreal received a final power play, but the team couldn’t solve Jones. As the horn sounds the final score is 3-1 Sharks.
- The Habs generated some chances, but didn’t have the bodies in front of the net to capitalize on rebounds. Things could have gone their way a bit more, but — a recurring theme— they will need to tighten up defensively.
- That said, Brett Kulak continues to look good next to Shea Weber. There is little offence in him, but he is rarely lost in the defensive zone and has some puck-moving talents.
- The Drouin-Domi-Shaw line is also working pretty well, even if Domi has slowed down. They are creating chances every game.