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Habs look for elusive win in San Jose

by Magalie Lafreni?re /
CANADIENS (30-28-6) at SHARKS (40-14-9)

Last 10: Montreal 5-4-1; San Jose 5-4-1.

Season series: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They met almost exactly a year ago in Montreal on Feb. 28. Andrei Markov and former Habs captain Saku Koivu scored a goal and an assist each in the first period and the Canadiens, due mostly to a 46-save performance by Jaroslav Halak, held on for a 3-2 win. Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton scored for San Jose.

Big story:  Trade-deadline day was a fairly quiet day for both clubs. Just after midnight, the Canadiens traded right wing Matt D'Agostini for Blues prospect Aaron Palushaj. D'Agostini had been a healthy scratch for five of the last 13 games. Palushaj was current Habs prospect Max Pacioretty’s college roommate at the University of Michigan and while the new Montreal right winger was an All-American in college, he has struggled at the AHL level. The Sharks haven't had any trade action since before the Olympics, trading forward Jody Shelley to the Rangers for a 2011 sixth-round pick and acquiring defenseman Niclas Wallin and a 2010 fifth-round pick from Carolina for a 2010 second-round pick. The Canadiens also acquired Dominic Moore from the Panthers before the break.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: Montreal will be playing the first of a three-game California road trip on Thursday. The Habs haven't had the best of luck at the HP Pavilion, as they haven't won in San Jose since November 23, 1999.

On Tuesday, Montreal earned a 4-1 win over the Bruins. After allowing a Boston goal early in the first period, the Canadiens scored four goals in the third for the victory. Former Bruins forward Glen Metropolit and rookie Mathieu Darche had a goal and an assist each, while Maxim Lapierre and Benoit Pouliot rounded out the scoring.  Carey Price finished the night with 23 saves.

"It was a big win for us," said Metropolit. "Our line played well, I thought. Our fourth line has to be able to go out there and create some energy, and we got some chances too, so that was key."

Sharks: San Jose had a rough second period Tuesday against the Devils, allowing three goals. Five minutes into the third, they were down 4-0. But the Sharks rallied with three straight goals in a span of 2:46 to end the night with a 4-3 loss. Devin Setoguchi scored twice and Joe Pavelski, fresh from the Olympics, netted the third goal. 

Evgeni Nabokov allowed New Jersey's four goals on 21 shots. Despite the loss, San Jose remains at the top of the Western Conference

"We fought back," said defenseman Dan Boyle. "But we're not happy with the way we played in the second period. That wasn't a very good period on our part. That's why we were down 3-0."

Who's hot: Metropolit has three goals in his last four games, while rookie Tom Pyatt has had four points in four games since being recalled from Hamilton.

With an assist on Tuesday, Thornton has a League-leading 60 assists this season, while Setoguchi recorded his fourth multi-goal game of the season with his two tallies.

Injury report: Paul Mara (upper body) is questionable for Thursday, while Michael Cammalleri (right MCL) and Marc-André Bergeron (knee) did not make the road trip. ... Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is out with a knee injury.

Stat pack: Travis Moen, who has had three points in his last four games, suits up against his former Sharks teammates on Thursday. Moen had three goals and two assists in 25 games with San Jose last season after having been traded by the Ducks on trade deadline day.

Puck drop: "We have so many new faces on the team this year and we’ve yet to really have everyone in the lineup at the same time due to injury. We’re looking forward to seeing what this group can do when they are all back healthy and in the lineup." -- Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier on trade-deadline day
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