Over their 31 year history some things have
become staples with the San Jose Sharks. Losing their game after long road
trips is one of them. Returning home for their first gae after completing a
5-game road trip, the Sharks laid an egg against arguably the worst team in the
Eastern Conference on Thursday night. The Montreal Canadiens had dropped 6 of
their first 7 games this season, including a lopsided 5-0 loss to San Jose 9
days ago. The Canadiens returned the favor with a 4-0 victory at SAP Center as
the Sharks played in only their second home game of the season.
whatever reason, the Sharks have been notoriously bad when playing at home for
the first time after those long trips. This one was no different.
Sharks enjoyed three power play chances in the opening period, but they only
held a 10-9 advantage in shots in the frame. Too many black jerseys were guilty
of watching the puck instead of anticipating and pursuing. That would cost the
Sharks 12:09 into the game.
Center Mike Hoffman staked the Canadiens
to a 1-0 lead when he grabbed a rebound off a Brett Kulak shot then tucked the
puck inside the right post after Sharks goaltender Adin Hill dropped to the ice
in an attempt to cutoff Hoffman who raced in from the right side.
The push that everyone expected in the 2nd period
never came. Or at least the wrong team did the pushing. Montreal doubled their
lead at 8:53 when Alexander Romanov scored his first goal in 58 games. The
defenseman wound up on a shot from the left point that fooled Hill, catching
the upper left corner of the goal. It was a shot that Hill had to make to give
the Sharks a shot.
The Canadiens were given their chance on the man
advantage and they would take advantage of one opportunity in the period.
Brendan Gallagher swatted home a puck that was chipped on net by Josh
Anderson to put this one out of reach. Anderson gathered a pass inside the
right circle between the dot and the Sharks goal, then tried to shoot it on
net, but the puck knuckled toward the left post. Gallagher was cutting across
the top of the crease when he waved at it, banging it home for his 1st goal of
Hoffman's tally was officially the game winner, but
Gallagher's goal eliminated any doubt of who would win this one.
Sharks threw plenty of rubber at Canadien's goaltender Jake Allen, but they
couldn't capitalize on second and third chances. Too many shots early in the
game hit Allen in the jersey crest, which seemed to help build his confidence.
The 20 shots that San Jose put on net in the 3rd period was a game's
worth, but nothing would get past Allen.
The Sharks will get a chance
to respond to the loss when they face the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, which will
start at 4:00pm. Game Notes:
* The announced attendance
was 11,463, but the building looked like less than half the seats were
occupied. Attendance numbers are based on tickets sold, so plenty of season
ticket holders elected to sit this one out.
* Matt Nieto was scratched
with a lower body injury after he blocked a shot in Nashville on Tuesday.
* Montreal had scored more than a single goal once in their first 7
games. That included a loss against the expansion Seattle Kraken on their
current west coast road trip.
* Jonah Gadjovich may be forced to sit
on Saturday, after he was issued a game misconduct associated with an
instigator penalty with 3 seconds remaining in the game. Gadjovich went after
Alexander Romanov who hit Lane Pederson moments earlier. By rule, the
instigator/game misconduct combination will result in a game suspension after
it's reviewed by the Department of Player Safety. Sharks head coach Bob
Boughner may be subject to a $10,000 fine if Gadjovich's fight is deemed worthy
of a fine.
* Special teams continues to dictate the outcome of the game
for San Jose. They were 0-for-4 on the power play, and they surrendered a goal
while on the penalty kill. The power play has now gone 0-for the last-14