NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 3rd (All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (34-25-6-2) at San Jose Sharks (32-16-11-6), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging Montreal Canadiens visit the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion tonight, just one day after adding some offensive punch to their lineup.
On Tuesday, the New York Rangers dealt forward Alexei Kovalev to Montreal in exchange for 22-year-old prospect Josef Balej, a native of Slovakia, and a second-round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The 32-year-old Kovalev had 13 goals and 29 assists in 65 games this season for New York.
Kovalev's status for tonight's contest is questionable.
The Canadiens have already won five straight games, including a dramatic 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at Bell Centre on Monday. Jason Ward scored with just 24 seconds remaining to lead Montreal.
Richard Zednik also scored and Jose Theodore made 28 saves for the Canadiens, who have now won six of their last seven.
With the win, Montreal moved to within two points of the Devils for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Habs are three points ahead of the eighth-place NY Islanders in the standings.
Theodore was named NHL Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. He posted four consecutive victories, a 1.21 goals-against average, a .953 save percentage and one shutout last week.
Montreal, which has won two straight games as the visitor, begins a four-game road trip tonight.
The Sharks, leaders of the Pacific Division, posted a 1-0 home victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday. Evgeni Nabokov made six of his 24 saves in the third period to lead San Jose.
Jonathan Cheechoo scored the lone goal for the Sharks, who posted their seventh straight home win and earned their second straight decision overall. Nabokov set a franchise record with his eighth shutout of the season. Nabokov held the club's previous single-season mark of seven blankings during the 2001-02 campaign.
San Jose earned a point for the fifth straight game (4-0-0-1) in its first regular-season shutout victory over St. Louis in franchise history.
The Sharks, who hold a six-point edge over Dallas in the Pacific, have won nine of their last 10 at home and close out a three-game homestand tonight.
The Sharks have won two straight with Montreal and are 4-2-2 in the last eight matchups. However, the Canadiens have posted four wins in their previous seven trips to San Jose (4-2-1).
03/03 11:22:56 ET