Two power play goals by Evander Kane in a six minute span over the first and second periods led the San Jose Sharks to a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
The two goals broke the momentum that Montreal was building, similar to their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the season. Before the Canadiens got their game back on track, it was already 3-1. Aaron Dell made 35 saves for the Sharks in the victory. Price made 19 saves for the Canadiens, who outshot San Jose 37-23.
After a good start for the Canadiens where they were controlling the run of play, Erik Karlsson fed Joe Thornton who led Barclay Goodrow on a breakaway and he beat Carey Price, but Goodrow was offside and the goal was disallowed following a challenge by the Canadiens.
Montreal used to take back control of the game. They couldn’t get anything done on their first power play but took a 1-0 lead when Nate Thompson started a two-on-one for Nick Cousins and Nick Suzuki. Cousins would shoot on Aaron Dell, get stopped but then fired in his rebound from the tightest of angles for his first of the season.
The Sharks tied it up late in the period (stop me if you’ve heard this before) with the Canadiens shorthanded (stop me if you’ve heard this before). A messy scramble, or as the French call, cafouillage, led to Logan Couture firing at an open net. The only person close enough to stop it was Evander Kane, and he redirected it into the net.
Kane got his second power play goal after a strange sequence. Jeff Petry went to the box for the referee thinking Brett Kulak tripped Kevin Labanc. Replays showed that Labanc fell without any contact. Kane’s two goals put him to six on the year.
San Jose took a 3-1 lead when Brendan Gallagher couldn’t clear the zone leading to Kane passing to Tomas Hertl who found Labanc wide open at the left circle who beat a sprawling Price less than halfway through the second period.
The Canadiens had several opportunities to pull back in the game, but every chance, including a late power play, were stopped by Aaron Dell. To make matters worse, the Sharks would score another goal in the final minute of the period when Joe Thornton found Melker Karlsson who beat Price.
They turned it back on before the end of the period, scoring just 22 seconds after the Sharks made it 4-1 when Joel Armia redirected the puck past Dell. It was Armia’s fifth goal of the season. The Canadiens went into the second intermission down 4-2 despite outshooting the Sharks 29-14.
The third period started off with a bizarre disallowed goal and Timo Meier clearly batted the puck into the net. The Canadiens would create some zone time and some chances of their own, but just couldn’t get a puck through the Sharks goaltender.
That trend would continue as the Sharks shut down the Canadiens attack, and would clear the zone as soon as they could. It led to a lot of icings, but Montreal couldn’t take advantage. Passes and rebounds would fall just out of reach.
Jonathan Drouin took a late penalty when Mario Ferraro was tripped with under five minutes remaining which all but ended the potential for a Canadiens comeback.
After the penalty expired, Max Domi broke in and unleashed a wrist shot, but Dell made the save. The Canadiens failed to get anything going for a while with the empty net after Price was pulled, although they did make it difficult for the Sharks to score a goal. They put pressure on in the final minute, but with a two-goal deficit, it was too little too late.
Montreal finishes off their homestand with a game Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs before heading on the road for a mini West Coast trip.