When you make an appearance in the Stanley Cup
Finals, expectations get raised. When you make the Cup Finals and you're the
Montreal Canadiens, those expectations go through the roof. In the hallowed
halls of Bell Centre, the Canadiens have parleyed their Cup appearance against
the Tampa Bay Lightning by starting the 2021-22 season by dropping four
straight games. San Jose kicked off a five game roadtrip with a big 5-0 win in
le belle province.
Montreal's roster looks nothing like the list that
helped them stun the hockey world last spring. Most notably absent is
goaltender Carey Price, who checked into the NHL's Player Assistance program
for an undisclosed illness. The Canadiens goaltender suffered a torn meniscus
in the playoffs last season and was recovering from off season knee surgery
when he abruptly announced he would be taking a leave of absence.
Webber is another notable absence who is so battered from his years in the
league, that he is expected to retire.
San Jose continued to hold a
debutante party, and they introduced another youngster to the hockey world.
Rookie Jonathan Dahlen scored his first two NHL goals to lead San Jose.
Goaltender Adin Hill turned aside all 21 shots he faced to earn his first
shutout as a Shark.
Dahlen staked the Sharks to an early lead when a
Timo Meier redirect deflected off the rookie forward just 82 seconds into the
game. Brent Burns fired the puck in from the right point at Meier who was
parked in the high slot. Meier altered the trajectory of Burns shot, directing
it to the front of the net where Dahlen was fighting off a defenseman Jeff
Petry. The shot either clipped Dahlen's skate or stick, but either way, it
found its way past Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen for his first career NHL
Dahlen scored a no-doubter 2 minutes later when he banged home a
rebound while crashing in from the right side. Logan Couture tried jamming a
shot home as he skated through the slot toward the left post, but Allen made
the stop. It was the big rebound that cost the Canadiens with Dahlen pumping
home his 2nd tally of the period into a wide open net. The Canadiens were
guilty of spectating as Dahlen went hard to the net.
made it a 3-0 game with 38 seconds left in the period, moments after a
Canadiens penalty expired. Karlsson ripped a shot from the right wing boards
that appeared to deflect off Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and past Allen.
Cole Caufield put the Sharks on their 3rd power play of the game after
he slashed Dahlen in front of the Canadiens net. San Jose converted when Meier
snapped a shot top shelf past Allen to make it a 4-0 lead.
Goaltender Adin Hill preserved the big lead by
denying a Josh Anderson breakaway chance moments after Meier's goal. The
netminder was plenty fresh, having only faced 3 shots in the opening period. A
Jasper Weatherby delay of game penalty put Montreal on the power play, provided
Hill some work, but he would keep the score sheet clean.
picked up the pace in the period, but the Sharks did a nice job of keeping
shooting lanes visible for Hill. Montreal would out-shoot San Jose 11-5 in the
middle frame, but the Meier goal was the only statistic that mattered.
Lane Pederson was whistled for a holding penalty to start the 3rd period, but
the Sharks continued to keep the puck away from Hill. Chiarot was not so lucky.
His roughing penalty at 13:37 of the final period would end up costing the
Kevin Labanc rifled a slap shot from the top of the left
circle, beating Allen for his 1st tally of the season. Karlsson earned the
primary assist for his 3rd point of the night. Rookie William Eklund registered
his 2nd NHL point with the secondary assist.
The boo birds let the red
clad Canadiens have it the last 4 minutes of the game. San Jose will play
Ottawa on Thursday, then will have a quick turnaround as they play Toronto on
Friday. Game Notes:
* The loss was Montreal's 4th in a
row to start the season, which was first time that has occurred since the
* The victory marked the 6th consecutive win for San
Jose in Montreal. They last lost in March of 2015 when Cary Price shut them
* The shutout was Adin Hill's 4th career shutout and first as a
* San Jose finished with a 62% to 38% advantage in the faceoff
circle, winning 31 of 50 draws. Logan Couture won 11 of 16 (69%) and rookie
Jasper Weatherby won 6 of 8 (75%).
* Four players recorded multi-point
games including Jonathan Dahlen (2 goals), Timo Meier (1 goal, 2 assists),
Logan Couture (2 assists) and Erick Karlsson (1 goal, 2 assists).