NHL Game Summary - San Jose at Montreal
(Saturday, February 28th)
Final Score: Montreal 3, San Jose 2
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Jaroslav Halak made 46 saves and helped back the suddenly surging Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win against San Jose at the Bell Centre.
Andrei Markov and Saku Koivu had a goal and an assist each while Josh Gorges also scored for the Habs, who have won four straight after losing the previous three contests. Prior to this winning streak, the Canadiens had gone 3-11-1 in their previous 15 games.
Not coincidentally, Montreal has been riding the heady play of Halak, who has seemed to supplant starter Carey Price between the pipes. Halak has backed all four wins on the streak and improved to 16-10-1 on the season.
"Even though the other teams have more shots we're still in the game and we try and keep the streak alive," Halak said of being outshot 48-21. "I'm trying to focus on the game and try to help the guys. I don't think I'm doing anything different. As long as we get the wins, that's all we need right now. We need to improve our number in the standings."
Montreal next kicks off a three-game road trip Wednesday in Buffalo.
Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton found the back of the net just 49 seconds apart in the second period after Montreal took a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Brian Boucher was solid the rest of the way in stopping 18-of-21 shots overall.
"Sometimes when you get 40-some odd shots and they got 15 you just don't win for some reason. That's hockey, that's life," said Thornton. "We're just a good team, we're fast, we're strong, we're big, a lot of teams don't know how to play us and really can't handle us in any way. You saw that for 40 minutes. They had no clue how to stop us -- their goalie played well."
The Sharks had won five of six coming in and still sit atop the Western Conference with 93 points but are just three ahead of second-seeded Detroit.
The loss marked the end of a 2-2-0 four-game road trip, which included a 4-1 loss to Detroit. Next up for San Jose is a two-game homestand that begins with Tuesday's meeting with Dallas.
The Canadiens got three goals in the latter stages of the opening period, jumping on the Sharks early and often as Markov's power-play blast from the high slot got things started at 11:05.
A little over two minutes later, Matt D'Agostini fell down on a wraparound attempt but chipped the puck in front to Gorges, whose quick shot made it a 2-0 affair. Montreal took a three-goal lead into the second as Koivu finished things off from the low right circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Markov.
Mike Komisarek took an interference call just 29 seconds into the ensuing stanza, and Pavelski used good positioning in front of the net to clean up a loose disc in front with the man advantage to get San Jose on the board. Just 49 seconds later Patrick Marleau sent a pass from behind the net to a streaking Thornton just outside the goal crease for a one-timer that suddenly had the visitors within one.
The Habs held on to their 3-2 lead from there, though, as Halak withstood a furious late charge from the Sharks, including the final 1:26 with Boucher taking a seat for an extra attacker. Halak finished the third period with 19 saves.
San Jose had won four of five meetings with the Canadiens entering Saturday's tilt and recorded a 6-4 home win in the only meeting between the clubs last season. The Sharks, though, have dropped three of their last four contests in Montreal, including a 6-2 setback the last time the clubs met in Quebec on January 14, 2006...The Habs are 20-6-4 as the host this year and have won three straight and nine of their last 11 at Bell Centre...San Jose fell to 16-8-6 as the road club this year.
03/01 00:10:12 ET