The Sharks opened their 4-game road trip in
Montreal on Tuesday night with an impressive 4-0 victory at Bell Centre. San
Jose opened the game with a quick goal, then played on egg-shells for the next
40 minutes, until they opened up the scoring with 3 goals in the final frame.
Tomas Hertl had a pair goals, but goaltender Kaapo Khakonen was the man of the
hour. The netminder stopped all 28 shots he faced, several of which were of the
For Kahkonen, consistency has been something missing
from hi game this season, so it was a breath of fresh air to have such a
dominating performance. He was particularly effective when the Sharks were
short-handed. The Sharks took 6 minor penalties, which amounted to more than
half a period of penalty killing.
Matt Nieto staked the Sharks to a
1-0 lead just 93 seconds into the game. Alexander Barabanov gathered a Logan
Couture feed on the left side, then raced around the back of the net and tried
to stuff home a wraparound attempt. Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen pinned his
left skate to the right post, denying Barabanov, but Nieto crashed the net and
pushed the puck past Allen who pulled his skate back at the wrong time.
The Canadiens challenged the goal, thinking Barabanov was offside, but
video replays were inconclusive. The Sharks went on the power play for the
failed challenge, but would not take advantage of the advantage. Johnathan
Kovacevic lobbed a puck over the glass right after the 1st Canadiens penalty
expired, but once again the Sharks power play came up short.
obliged their hosts when Radim Simek took a cross checking penalty at 7:29,
then Nick Cicek was called for delay of game when he lifted the puck into the
stands. The league's top ranked penalty killers dispatched the Montreal power
play to retain their slim lead.
The middle period was littered with
penalties that bogged down the flow of the contest. San Jose took 4 separate
minor penalties in the frame, including a Timo Meier tripping penalty at 18:55
and a delay of game infraction by Jaycob Megna with 2 seconds left in the
period. That setup the Canadiens with almost a full minute of 5-on-3 power play
time to start the 3rd period.
The one thing that's excelled for San
Jose this season has been the penalty killing and it came up big to start the
3rd period. The Sharks didn't do anything fancy, but they were effective. A
pair of clearing opportunities helped burn the remainder of Meier and Megna's
penalties, which not only allowed San Jose to retain their lead, but it setup a
Working the puck into the Montreal zone allowed
Kevin Labanc to throw the puck to the area out in front of the net where Tomas
Hertl was lurking. The puck found Hertl, who put it past Allen with a redirect
to double the Sharks lead and push the forward's season total to 6 tallies.
Logan Couture added his 13th of the season 75 seconds later, pumping a
shot from the high slot that trickled past Allen and into the Montreal goal.
Couture was the beneficiary of a long centering pass by Matt Benning who hit
his linemate with a pass out of the corner with a 125 foot pass.
Kaappo Khakonen turned into a brick wall , stopping a flurry of Canadiens shots
on the ensuing Montreal possession.
Hertl added an empty net goal with
2:14 to play to ice the game and cap the scoring. Game Notes:
* Left winger Jeffrey Viel made his season debut for San Jose.
Viel hails from Quebec, so it was a bucket list moment for the young winger.
The Sharks prospect was recalled on Monday.
* Marc-Edouard Vlasic also
made his return home, and had several family and friends in attendance. The
defenseman also had a nice game, adding an assist and 4 blocks on top of some
* On top of his 2 goals, Tomas Hertl led all skaters
with 6 shots on goal. The Czech forward added an assist and was 9 for 16 on
* San Jose recorded 28 blocked shots in the game, Nick
Bonino who had 5.
* The Sharks are an incredible 22-6-2 (.767) vs
Montreal since 1998-99.