The Sharks withstood a significant early push by Montreal, and Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Dainius Zubrus all scored goals as San Jose ended it’s losing streak with a 3-1 win at Bell Centre on Tuesday.
The Sharks had lost their previous six games (0-5-1), but improved to 15-14-1 in what was the first of a five-game road trip.
Despite the ice being tilted heavily in Montreal’s favor in the first period, the Sharks scored the only goal of the opening 20 minutes. It came on a two-on-one rush, when Joel Ward fought off Andrei Markov and slanted a cross-ice pass to Marleau, who skillfully angled his stick to direct it in at 17:34.
The goal came less than a minute after Sharks fourth line forward Barclay Goodrow hammered P.K. Subban along the end wall on a borderline check from behind, sparking a fight with Torrey Mitchell. At that point the Sharks were being outshot 10-2 by the Canadiens, but the hit on Montreal's best player seemed to change the tide of the game.
San Jose added to its lead in the second, including when Pavelski got a piece of a Justin Braun floater just 36 seconds in for his team-leading 14th score.
A welcome contribution from Joe Thornton helped make it 3-0. The big centerman won a battle behind the Montreal net and got the puck in front to Pavelski, who quickly found linemate Zubrus on the other side. Zubrus patiently went to his backhand and lifted the disc over a fallen Dustin Tokarski at 9:19 of the second, chasing the goalie for backup Mike Condon.
Zubrus was skating on the Thornton line after Tomas Hertl was a late scratch due to a lower body injury. Thornton recorded just his third point in his last 12 games.
The Sharks had allowed the first goal in their previous six games, all losses. They improved to 12-1-0 when scoring first, and are 3-13-1 when allowing the first goal.
San Jose is now 5-1-0 against the Canadiens in the last six. Montreal visits SAP Center for a rare Feb. 29th game.
For the first time this season the Sharks did not have a power play in the game.
Montreal was 0-for-2. The Sharks are 34-for-38 on the penalty kill in their last 12 games.
Jones made his eighth start in the last nine games, and made 26 saves on 27 shots. His best stops came in the third period, when he robbed Nathan Beaulieu with a right pad about five minutes in, and then got his blocker on a Tomas Plekanec try on a loose puck with a minute and a half to go.
Ten of Jones’ 13 wins have come on the road (13-10-1).
Tokarski allowed three goals on 12 shots, while Condon stopped all six shots he saw in relief, as the Canadiens outshot the Sharks for the game, 27-18.
Montreal starter and defending Hart Trophy winner Carey Price remains out with a leg injury.
Hertl missed his first game of the season, and first since the 2013-14 season despite taking the morning skate and warmups.
Goodrow was recalled from the AHL on Monday, after spending the last month and a half with the Barracuda. Ben Smith was also recalled after two AHL games for conditioning.
Ryan Carpenter, who made his NHL debut on Saturday against Minnesota, was reassigned to the Barracuda on Sunday.
The Sharks visit Toronto on Thursday and Ottawa on Friday.