NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 28th
(All times eastern)
San Jose Sharks (42-9-9) at Montreal Canadiens (33-22-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks will shoot for their sixth win in seven
games when they visit the Montreal Canadiens for tonight's battle at Bell
The Sharks are leading the Western Conference with 93 points and are just
three ahead of second-seeded Detroit. San Jose also entered Saturday with a
whopping 28-point lead over Dallas and Anaheim for the Pacific Division lead.
San Jose had won four straight before losing a 4-1 decision in Detroit on
Wednesday. However, the Sharks bounced back from that loss, as they won a
close decision the following night in Ottawa.
Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau scored power-play goals 1:18 apart in the
second period, as the Sharks edged the Senators, 2-1, at Scotiabank Place.
Brian Boucher made 23 saves to improve to 10-1-2 on the season.
Marleau's goal was his 34th of the season, which ties a career high he set
during the 2005-06 season.
Tonight's test marks the end of a four-game road trip for the Sharks, who are
16-7-6 as the road club this year. Next up for San Jose is a two-game
homestand that begins with Tuesday's meeting with Dallas.
Montreal, meanwhile, has won three straight after losing its previous three
contests. Prior to this winning streak, the Canadiens had gone 3-11-1 in their
previous 15 games.
The Canadiens picked up a big road victory on Friday night, as they edged the
Philadelphia Flyers in an overtime game at the Wachovia Center. Mathieu
Schneider scored on the power play 3:21 into OT to lift the Habs to a 4-3
decision over the Flyers.
The win pulled Montreal, which has 73 points, within three points of
Philadelphia for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal got a power play due to an interference call on Scottie Upshall, and
it took advantage. Antero Niittymaki initially made some great glove saves,
but Schneider blasted a shot from the right circle past the goaltender's glove
for the win.
Alex Kovalev finished with a goal and two assists for Montreal. Tomas Plekanec
and Tom Kostopoulos also scored, while Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves to earn
Halak has seemed to take over the starting role from Carey Price and has won
three straight starts to improve to 15-10-1 on the season.
Montreal is home for one just one contest and will kick off a three-game road
trip Wednesday in Buffalo. The Habs are 19-6-4 as the host this year and has
won two straight and eight of their last 10 home tests.
San Jose has won four of five and five of the last seven meetings with the
Canadiens and recorded a 6-4 home win in the only meeting between the clubs
last season. The Sharks have dropped two of their last three contests in
Montreal, including a 6-2 setback the last time the clubs met in Quebec on
January 14, 2006.
02/28 10:48:36 ET