Montreal Canadiens

Sharks cut down on odd-man rushes in first road win since October

Sharks cut down on odd-man rushes in first road win since October

If one thing has hurt the Sharks in their losses this season, it’s been giving up too many grade-A chances to the opposition.

In their Sunday night win over the Montreal Canadiens, Team Teal put up one of its best efforts of the season in keeping those chances to a minimum.

[RELATED: Sharks snap four-game losing streak]

“The odd-man rushes that have been hurting us,” Sharks goaltender Martin Jones complimented after Sunday’s win. “I thought we did a great job tonight.”

The Sharks' defense -- not just the blue line but from the forward lines as well –-- was an ever-present force against the Habs. It was a vast improvement for a team currently ranked second in the NHL in giving up goals on high-danger chances. On Sunday, they registered 22 blocked shots to accompany the staggering 40 of 41 chances Montreal hurled Jones’ way en route to allowing the Canadiens to score only one goal.

“Guys put their bodies on the line a little bit tonight,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. “There were some big blocks ... and when we did have a breakdown, [Jones] was great. It all added up to a win tonight.”

In a rebound performance all his own, Jones put together a highlight reel of saves in Montreal, and stood particularly tall in the final few minutes when the Habs got a late-game power-play opportunity and threatened to capitalize on it. The victory helped him improve to 7-1-0 in his career against Montreal, with a 1.88 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. 

Even with a high number of shots coming his way, Jones told the media he’ll take getting peppered with shots over having too many odd-man rushes coming at him any day.

“That’s a much more manageable game,” he explained. “I thought we did a great job eliminating those grade-A’s and those odd-man rushes that have been causing us some problems.”

Of course, the Sharks know they still have some things on which they want to improve. After a tough road trip, San Jose has to keep the momentum going past this one game. 

The Sharks will have the opportunity to do that when they return to home ice for a rematch with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from win that ended four-game losing streak

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from win that ended four-game losing streak

There’s no denying the San Jose Sharks were in dire need of a win, and a statement win at that, after dropping four straight. On Sunday night, they got exactly that.

The Sharks grabbed their first lead on this five-game road trip early in the first period and never looked back as they defeated the Canadiens 3-1 in Montreal.

Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' Sunday night contest:

The Sharks played a full 60

As we’ve discussed throughout this road trip — well, for good chunks of the season, to be honest — San Jose has only shown streaks of upper-echelon play through games. “Spurts” was the term Logan Couture used. On Sunday in Montreal, the Sharks finally stretched that effort across an entire game.

San Jose didn’t get on its heels when Jeff Petry scored a goal for the Habs in the second period. Instead of settling into their recent habit of letting the opposition back in during that second 20 minutes, the Sharks continued to grind and kept up with Montreal’s speed all while playing a smothering defense to keep the opposition at bay.

Response from different parts of the lineup

When a team needs to rally from a losing streak, it needs players to step up and lead the charge. In the Sharks' case, more than one player seized the opportunity to contribute.

San Jose’s big guns, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns, led the charge on the scoreboard. Then the Sharks got a continued boost from Marcus Sorensen, and rookie center Antti Suomela charged the net the best he has since the very beginning of the season.

Being back on a line with Joonas Donskoi and Evander Kane might have helped Sorensen as well. Kudos can’t be handed out without complimenting Justin Braun, who on top of having a solid defensive game also found the back of the net for the first time this season.

Then there was this guy …

Two words: Martin. Jones.

The Sharks’ starting netminder has made some great saves over the first part of the season, but many of them have been negated by the fact he also has let a lot of pucks past him. 

Although he wasn’t tested so much in the first frame — save that glove save he made on Max Domi — Jones stood his ground when Montreal pushed back in the second stanza. The Sharks needed Jones to step up big to counter the stellar performance Carey Price was putting on at the other end of the ice, and he was able to do just that.

Sharks vs. Canadiens live stream: How to watch NHL game on MyTeams

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Sharks vs. Canadiens live stream: How to watch NHL game on MyTeams

The emotions were high Saturday night as Erik Karlsson returned to Ottawa for the first time since being traded to the Sharks. The Senators held a touching tribute in his honor including a video and let him take the ice for a solo lap. Despite not many dry eyes in the house, the Sharks couldn't walk away with the win and fell to the Senators, 6-2.

The team finishes up a five-game road trip Sunday evening as they take on the Montreal Canadiens -- a team who is boasting a 12-9 record on the season. The Sharks hope to take advantage of a team that only recently landed a win over the Rangers. Prior to that, the Canadiens lost five straight contests. 

Radim Simek will make his NHL debut at Bell Centre.

Here's how you can watch Sharks-Canadiens live online in the new MyTeams by NBC Sports app. 

When: 4:00 p.m. PT on Sunday, Dec. 2 (pregame show starts at 3:30 p.m.)
TV Channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app