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La Belle Prestation
Kaapo Kahkonen makes 28 saves in 4-0 shutout of Habs
11/29/2022 - By Mike Lee

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 tough variety.

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.

San Jose 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 counter punch.

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 solid defense.

* 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 faceoffs.

* 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.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 3 4
MTL 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, SJ, Nieto 5 (Barabanov, Couture), 1:33.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Hertl 6 (Labanc, Cicek), 2:29. 3, SJ, Couture 13 (Benning, Vlasic), 3:44. 4, SJ, Hertl 7 (Labanc, Meier), 17:46, (en).
1st period - Bench, MTL (delay of game - unsucessful challenge), 1:33; Kovacevic, MTL (delay of game - puck over glass), 3:37; Simek, SJ (cross checking), 7:29; Cicek, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 12:27.
2nd period - Dadonov, MTL (interference), 4:42; Lindblom, SJ (slashing), 7:37; Viel, SJ (hooking), 11:25; Meier, SJ (tripping), 18:55; Megna, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 19:58.
3rd period - Savard, MTL (tripping), 8:09; Matheson, MTL (triping), 9:36.
Shots Saves
SJ - Khakonen 28 28
MTL - Allen 23 20
MTL - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 6 11 24
MTL 8 6 14 28
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 5
MTL 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Kaapo Khakonen
Logan Couture
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Bell Centre - 21,105
Referees: #27 Eric Furlatt, #7 Garrett Rank . Linesmen: #76 Michel Cormier, #98 Dan Kelly.

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