By Daniel Reedy
The Canadiens ended their trip to San Jose “hab-itually,” losing to a Sharks team that has won six of its last seven games.
San Jose continues to be a troubling place for the Habs who haven’t won an away game against the Sharks since 1999.
The Sharks took an early lead on a man-advantage goal from star blueliner Brent Burns which gave San Jose the start it wanted.
“We came out the way we wanted to and we managed the puck well and were able to capitalize on a powerplay,” Burns’ defensive partner Paul Martin said.
San Jose battered Montreal’s goalie Carey Price with 16 shots in the first period. With under a minute remaining in the first period, Joe Thornton snatched his second assist of the night with a last-second pass on a breakaway to Captain Joe Pavelski who scored his eighth goal of the season.
The Canadiens battled in the second and middle-period possession was far more even. Both teams exchanged chances but the Sharks took their two-goal lead into the third period.
Sharks goaltender Martin Jones came into the game the inferior netminder to Price, but both faced — and denied — their fair shares of scoring opportunities.
Jones needed a couple lucky deflections from his posts, but his one-goal-against performance was no easy feat against a highly-talented Montreal attack. Jones’ was fantastic and earned the “First Star of the Game.” He turned away chances from each of the Canadiens’ top forwards: Max Pacioretty, Alexander Radulov and Alex Galchenyuk.
Jones credited his teammates with the Sharks’ recent success.
“We defend really well and do a great job of blocking shots,” the now 13-win goaltender said.
Jones is now tied with Price (and Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky) for the league-lead in wins.
Meanwhile, Montreal’s version of Brent Burns struggled. Defender Shea Weber, who is second only to Burns in goals scored by a defenseman, was completely shut down by San Jose.
The Habs capitalized on a four-minute powerplay in the final minutes to shorten the Sharks’ lead, but it would not be enough to break their drought in San Jose.
The Sharks get some time off and don’t play again until Wednesday when they take on Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators.