Rabid Habs

Welcome To Paradise

San Jose Sharks

“There are never any guarantees. You can’t target one or two players and say, “Aha, they’re going to get us over the hump.” There are seven or eight teams that have a serious shot this year.” – Marc Bergevin

The Montreal Canadiens were more than prepared to take on a four game road trip after their four to nothing shutout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Therrien’s troops would be kicking off their west coast trip with a match against the San Jose Sharks, a team they haven’t won against at the SAP Center since November 1999. For the Canadiens, winning four games in a row, having a 19-9-1 road record, and sitting first in the Eastern Conference could have a reverse effect on the team. Another turn around for the Habs would be former Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry suiting up with the Canadiens against the Sharks. Petry plays tough minutes, puts up favourable possession numbers, is capable of driving play through the neutral zone, and creates chances to put pucks on net. With the Habs not being the top possession team, Petry would be playing an important part in the team’s Monday night match up as well as having an important role in the playoffs. As for the other side of the ice, the Sharks have been posting a 2-7-1 record in their last ten outings including three consecutive losses most recently. Sitting fifth in the Pacific Division, San Jose could possibly miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season, being five points back of a playoff spot in the West. Tonight’s game would be the fight for the Sharks to get back on track and for the Canadiens to finally break the SAP Center losing streak.

The Sharks were coming off strong in the first five minutes of the first period, keeping consistent pressure and pucks deep in the Montreal zone, which led to Ben Smith (assisted by Marc-Edouard Vlasic) slipping one past Carey Price just six minutes and 51 seconds into the game. The Sharks were clearly the hungrier team throughout the period while the Habs were coming out flat, registering their first shot attempt on net just with three and a half minutes left and struggling to generate any offense. With just 46.1 seconds left, Joe Pavelski (assisted by Brent Burns and Joe Thornton) gave San Jose their second goal of the night on the power play, leaving the first period two to nothing.

Matt Irwin (assisted by Tommy Wingels and Ben Smith) gave the Sharks their third goal six minutes and 28 seconds into the second period. The Canadiens were still coming out flat, struggling to generate offense and keep the pucks in the San Jose zone. Meanwhile, Carey Price was doing his best to block shots on his own despite having three pass by him. Despite the Habs showing a bit of a spark around the midway mark, the period ended three to nothing with San Jose still in the lead.

Despite opening up the third period sloppy, the Canadiens started to apply some pressure around the midway mark and had some great chances to get pucks on net, including one that almost danced past the line but was slapped out by Brent Burns. The Sharks were staying fast paced, still keeping the Habs struggling to break out of their zone. During their third power play, the Sharks managed to get a fourth goal via Patrick Marleau (assisted by Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture) with just six minutes and 53 seconds left. The Habs were slowly starting to get some momentum back with the final minutes they had left, pushing to keep the pucks deep and taking some close shots on net. However, the Montreal Canadiens just couldn’t make a comeback in the third period and the San Jose Sharks shutout the Canadiens in a four to nothing win.

Here are my thoughts on tonight’s game.

  • My only thought tonight is that I’m going to need a hot tea and possibly gloat a little in order to get through the game we all just experienced. The Montreal Canadiens are an excellent team, one of the top teams in the league, and yet they always have a way to help struggling teams break their losing streaks. If the Canadiens want any success for the next few days in California, they’re going to have to learn to generate more offense, get control of those pucks, and create chances to put points on the board. Cheers to Carey Price on making some big saves tonight, he definitely deserves to be one of the three stars.
  • The Montreal Canadiens play the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Wednesday at 10:00pm.

    (Purchase your Canadiens tickets here. | Achetez vos billets des Canadiens ici.)

    Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures