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Meier helps Sharks bounce back in La Belle Province
SJ easily handles Montreal with 401 decision
1/2/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks kicked off the new year on a much higher note than how they ended 2017, by pounding the host Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night. Timo Meier led San Jose with a pair of goals and Aaron Dell made 30 saves to earn his 8th win of the season. San Jose looked nothing like the team that was pasted in Dallas 48 hours earlier.

The sting of the Sharks 6-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday was fresh enough to see that the Sharks were intent on cleaning up the little things that resulted in what was arguably their worst loss of the season. Those little details were the things that led to a solid win on the road in a tough building.

Timely scoring and a big response to Montreal's only goal of the night left no doubt who would win this game. The only blemish on the Sharks performance were a few more penalties than head coach Peter DeBoer would have likely preferred.

San Jose may have packed on more than the four goals they put past Canadiens goaltender Carey Price had they not committed a trio of 1st period penalties early in the game. Things started poorly when San Jose was whistled for too many men just 3 minutes into the contest. A Dylan Demelo high sticking penalty and a Joel Ward tripping call kept the Sharks offense in check until the second half of the period.

When they finally did clean up their act, they took care of business.

Joe Thornton opened the scoring with his 8th goal of the season at 12:57. Justin Braun threw a puck toward the net from the right point, that buckled after hitting a Canadiens defender. The puck redirected wide right of the net where Thornton was perched, hitting the Sharks centerman in the crotch. It bounced back toward the front of the net, but Thornton reached out with his big wing span and tucked the puck around the right post as Price was oblivious to the play, not realizing Thornton controlled the puck.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic made it a 2-0 game midway through the 2nd period, tapping home a deflection off of Price after Mikkel Boedker raced up the right wing and bounced a shot off the Canadiens goaltender. Vlasic trailed on the off wing, and was able to reach the deflection before defenseman Joe Morrow could get back.

Penalties set up the Canadiens only score of the evening, when a Boedker tripping penalty was followed by a delay of game penalty on Brent Burns.

Dell continued to provide the Sharks with quality backup goaltending, with his only blemish coming on the ensuing 5-on-3. Andrew Shaw was credited with his 10th goal of the season after he inadvertently kicked the puck past Dell to cut the Sharks lead to 2-1.

Meier solved that problem for San Jose with 10 seconds remaining in the period by scoring a back breaking goal. San Jose was on the power play following a high sticking penalty to Morrow. Kevin Labanc setup San Jose's 3rd goal of the evening with a pretty pass from the top of the right circle to the left post, where Meier was sitting for the easy tap in. Price was forced to focus on a potential shot from Labanc, which opened up a hole just big enough for Meier to exploit.

Meier had just missed on a rocket attempt from the left dot moments earlier. The goal took the wind out of the Canadiens sails, coming so late in the period.

Meier left no doubt who would win this game when he converted again just 1:13 into the 3rd period. Joe Pavelski chipped a puck up the right wing boards, springing Meier on a partial 2-on-1 break. Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner tried to poke the puck away from Meier with a one-handed swinging attempt, but he ended up losing his sticking, leaving Jakub Jerabek as the only man back to defend.

Meier held the puck as Brendan Dillon raced up the left wing as a passing option, before snapping a wrist shot that sailed over Price's right shoulder. It was Meier's first multi-goal game of this career.

Montreal had little fight left, even tough they out-shot the Sharks 12-8 in the period. Dell made sure nothing would inspire the Canadiens as he stopped all 12 shots.

Game Notes:

* Aaron Dell continues to turn in solid performances in net with limited opportunity. The goaltender dropped his goals against average to 1.98, to go along with his .934 save percentage.

* Kevin Labanc finished the evening with a pair of assists, even though he was limited to 13:54 of ice time on 20 shifts.

* A defenseman led the Sharks in shots on goal, but it wasn't Brent Burns. Marc-Edouard Vlasic sent a season high 6 shots in Carey Price's direction. It was Vlasic's chance to shine in his hometown.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 1 4
MTL 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 8 (Braun, Vlasic), 12:57.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Vlasic 4 (Boedker, Labanc), 11:27. 3, MTL, Shaw 10 (Pacioretty, Galchenyuk), 16:07, (pp). 4, SJ, Meier 7 (Labanc, Tierney), 19:50, (pp).
3rd period - 5, SJ, Meier 8 (Pavelski, Burns), 1:13.
1st period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 3:11; Demelo, SJ (high sticking), 6:19; Ward, SJ (tripping), 14:22; Morrow, MTL (tripping), 15:50; Byron, MTL (illegal check to head), 18:23.
2nd period - Boedker, SJ (tripping), 14:54; Burns, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 15:49; Morrow, MTL (high sticking), 18:05.
3rd period - Deslauriers, MTL (cross checking), 19:44.
Shots Saves
SJ - Dell 31 30
Price - MTL 33 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 15 8 33
MTL 11 8 12 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
MTL 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Timo Meier
Brent Burns
Bell Centre - 21,302
Referees: Pochmara, Rank. Linesmen: Amell, Miller.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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