Pavelski, Thornton take a bite out of the Canadiens
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton each had three points to key a dominant performance from San Jose’s top line, and the Sharks beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-2 on Monday night for their sixth victory in the past seven meetings between the teams.
Pavelski had two goals and one assist, while Thornton scored one goal and assisted on two others to help the Sharks move within two points of second-place Anaheim and four points of leader Los Angeles in the Pacific Division. Brent Burns also had a goal and two assists, and Melker Karlsson and Nick Spaling added goals for San Jose.
Martin Jones made 21 saves to earn wins on back-to-back nights for the first time since November.
Brendan Gallagher and Torrey Mitchell scored for the Canadiens, who lost in regulation for the first time in five games. Montreal fell seven points behind Pittsburgh in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Mike Condon made 30 saves.
The Sharks’ top line controlled the game from the start, generating the first three goals for the team. The first came in the opening minutes when Pavelski adroitly deflected a shot-pass from Justin Braun right to Thornton at the side of the net. Thornton tucked in the puck for his 15th goal to make it 1-0.
After Gallagher tied the game when his bad-angle shot from the corner sneaked past Jones, San Jose’s two Joes teamed up again. This time Thornton fed Pavelski in the slot from the side boards and he beat Condon with a quick one-timer for his 28th goal of the season.
The top line was at it again early in the second when Thornton made a nice entry and fed Burns for a wrister that beat Condon. The 36-year-old Thornton leads the NHL with 44 points since Dec. 15 and has 60 overall.
Pavelski, who added a goal late in the third, has 29 goals on the season and 61 points. San Jose’s duo joined Dallas’ Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the only teammates with at least 60 points this season.
The Canadiens made a game of it midway through the second when Mitchell batted a puck out of the air past Jones to make it 3-2. Jones kept the score there with a strong pad save late in the second to rob Tomas Plekanec.
The Sharks turned it into a laugher in the third when Karlsson batted in a perfect saucer pass from Chris Tierney, and Spaling knocked in a rebound of Logan Couture’s shot for his second goal in four games since joining San Jose.
Spaling scored just once in 35 games with Toronto before being acquired last week.
NOTES: The Canadiens claimed forward Mike Brown off waivers from the Sharks and immediately played him against his former team. He got a warm ovation after being shown on the video board during the first period. ... Burns got his 400th career point with an assist on Pavelski’s first-period goal. ... Phillip Danault registered his first point with Montreal with his assist on Mitchell’s goal.