SAN JOSE – It was a dicey one in teal town when the Sharks hosted the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. But, the home team found a way keep Montreal’s losing streak at SAP Center alive, and prevailed with a 5-2 victory.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s contest:
Down with the sickness
San Jose didn’t play its prettiest game against Montreal, and it's easy to understand why. As coach Peter DeBoer revealed to the press this week, the flu has gone around the dressing room and hit a couple players. Nevertheless, they took the ice on Thursday evening.
You really have to hand it to Brent Burns. The defenseman played his second game while trying to fight off the flu bug, and still recorded his 60th assist on the season. It's only the fourth time since the 1996-7 season an NHL defenseman has accomplished the feat.
Young guns carrying the weight
The Sharks have been pumping that “next man up” message all season in relation to injuries. On Thursday against the Habs, it was San Jose’s young players who picked up the flu-riddled team.
25-year-old Tomas Hertl recorded his 30th goal on the season in the first period of Thursday’s game, eluding former teammate Antti Niemi with a wraparound attempt that went five-hole. 26-year-old Marcus Sorensen stayed hot, lighting the lamp in the first frame and tallying an assist on old-timer Joe Thornton’s goal in the second stanza. Then, in the third period, 26-year-old Joonas Donskoi set 22-year-old Timo Meier up with a sweet back-handed pass, and Meier's subsequent goal gave San Jose a 4-2 lead with 13:27 to go in regulation.
The shot clock didn't dictate the game
A worrisome trend continued on Thursday, when the Sharks were heavily outshot by their opponents. While they were fortunate enough to find the net more times than the Canadiens did, they certainly didn’t make it very easy on themselves.
Goaltender Martin Jones deserves credit for making some big saves on the evening. While both goals he let in weren’t pretty, he buckled down in the final 40 minutes to keep the contest from getting completely out of hand while Montreal gained momentum and put nearly 40 shots on the clock.