The San Jose Sharks behind 22 saves from Antti Niemi, shut down the Canadiens 2-0 Saturday night at the Bell Centre. Logan Couture’s second period power play goal proved to be the winner. Couture also scored a fluke goal later in the period to clinch it. The Sharks, who have lost one game in regulation time this season, outshot the Canadiens 35-22. The three stars were Couture, Patrick Marleau who assisted on both goals and Niemi. The Canadiens are now 6-5-0 to start their season.
Adding It Up
A Better Fate? On most nights the Canadiens would win a game like this one. They matched the Sharks in speed and effort in the first period and came out of it in a scoreless tie despite playing shorthanded twice.
Asking For Trouble – The Canadiens drew the first four penalties of the game, all of them restraining fouls. They paid on the third one when Joe Thornton evaded Ryan White’s check inside the zone and spotting Raphael Diaz out of position fed the puck across for Couture. 1-0.
The Hockey Gods – Considering the kind of game San Jose was playing, the backbreaker came early in the third period when Patrick Marleau’s puck off the glass from centre ice hit a stanchion and bounced straight out in front rather than behind the net where Carey Price was waiting. Couture had the gimme and it was game over for all intents.
No Breaks – You’re supposed to make your own. The Canadiens had chances after it was 1-0. Lars Eller flipped a pass for Gallagher that failed to produce midway through the period. Two minutes later the Desharnais line along with Subban and Markov had the pressure on for 45 seconds with nothing to show. And late in the period on a power play David Desharnais missed an open side that might have tied the game.
That Said – While the Canadiens worked hard on the defensive side, they seemed to a half step behind the puck on offense which not was frustrating for the team, but really started to upset the fan-base.
The Canadiens Best – The line of Plekanec/Gionta/Bournival combined for a total of six shots on goal. They had a good night on both ends of the ice.
Dry Well – The magic that was the so-called “Kid Line” seems to have disappeared. Eller, Galchenyuk and Gallagher produced a total of five shots on goal, but nothing that really tested Niemi. The last time some semblance of the line was on the ice for a Canadiens goal was four games ago against Nashville.
Out of Solutions – Under the Sharks forecheck, the Canadiens were forced to look for stretch passes to create some offence going the other way. In today’s game, stretch passes don’t work. The Canadiens iced the puck 15 times in the game to San Jose’s 4. End of story.
Feeling the Pain – Midway through the third period, Travis Moen took a puck off his cheekbone and left the game for stitches and didn’t return. Minutes later, Brendan Gallagher was run head first into the boards by Sharks defenceman Brad Stuart. He was wobbly getting his feet and going to the bench. Wouldn’t you know….he didn’t miss a shift.
What’s With This? – Defenceman Greg Pateryn took the pre-game warmup and when he returned to the dressing room he was told he was being returned to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Nathan Beaulieu played ten shifts in the first two periods and then was allowed just one shift in the third.
Moving On – The Canadiens are in a 4 games in six night stretch. They travel to Manhattan Sunday afternoon and will play the Rangers Monday before returning home for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. We’ll see Peter Budaj in one of the two games, probably Tuesday.