With a six goal second period, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the San Jose Sharks 6-2. As the Sharks wrapped up their three-game Eastern Conference road trip, Evgeni Nabokov manned the net for San Jose, while Jose Theodore was between the pipes for Montreal.
The first 10 minutes of the first went by with neither team taking control of the game. Montreal put a couple good shots on Nabokov, but the netminder turned away each attempt.
Scott Thornton had the first quality scoring chance for the Sharks when he looked to pass to Alyn McCauley from the right faceoff circle, but instead of passing, he spun around and took a shot on Theodore. Theodore swallowed up the shot, keeping the game scoreless.
With 2:27 left in the first, the Sharks would light the lamp first. Mark Smith led the puck down the ice along the right side. The center backhanded a shot on net, but his attempt was deflected off of a Canadien’s skate and straight to Grant Stevenson. The rookie quickly shot the puck on net, slipping it past Theodore, giving the Sharks the 1-0 lead late in the first.
The first period would end with the Sharks leading 1-0.
The second period started with Montreal’s Saku Koivu hooking Nils Ekman, giving the Sharks their first power play of the night. It would be the Canadiens, however, that would score on San Jose’s advantage. Andrei Markov would score a shorthanded goal when he fired a slapshot from the point, beating Nabokov top shelf. The score was now 1-1.
Montreal went on the power play for the first time, six minutes into the second when Mark Smith was called for tripping. It would take just more than a minute for the Canadiens to capitalize on their advantage when Markov notched his second goal of the night. A slapshot fired off goal bounced off the boards and right to a wide open Markov. Nabokov was slow to react to the rebound, leaving the goaltender out of position, giving Markov an open shot, and the defender buried the puck in the back of the net. Montreal now led 2-1.
The Sharks would go back on the power play when Richard Zednik was sent to the box. Once again it was Montreal scoring on San Jose’s advantage. Christopher Higgins skated down the ice on a breakaway. The center flipped a backhander past Nabokov, giving Montreal a two-goal lead. The Sharks still had 1:30 left on the power play, but couldn’t convert.
San Jose went back on the power play at 10:39 when Markov was called for hooking. Just 30 seconds into the penalty, the Sharks earned a five-on-three when Steve Begin tripped Ekman. The advantage would end without a goal for Team Teal, despite numerous shots being fired.
Stevenson was called for tripping with just over seven minutes left in the frame, but San Jose was able to fight off the extra man attack.
30 seconds of five-on-three play after Pressing and Nabokov penalties was all Montreal needed to add another goal. Mark Streit scored his first career NHL goal, giving the Canadiens the 4-1 lead.
Less than a minute later, Mike Ribeiro tipped in a puck fired by Streit from the point. The score was now 5-1 in favor of the Canadiens.
One minute after that, Jan Bulis notched another power play goal when he flipped in a puck that was originally turned away by Nabokov. Montreal opened up their largest lead of the night, 6-1, as the final seconds of the second period ticked off the clock.
Vesa Toskala took Nabokov’s place in net when the third period began.
Begin was sent to the box for boarding and the Sharks were on their fifth power play of the night. San Jose fired three shots on goal during the two-minute advantage, but couldn’t solve Theodore.
Kyle McLaren nearly brought the Sharks back within four, but the big defenseman’s slapshot rang loud off the post. With ten minutes remaining in the game, the Sharks were still down five.
Jonathan Cheechoo would score his 25th goal of the season when Joe Thornton
fired a pass in front of the net in which Cheechoo slipped his stick in the way, deflecting the puck past Theodore. The score was now 6-2 in favor of Montreal.
As time ticked off the clock, the Canadiens skated away with the 6-2 victory.
- Patrick Marleau
skated in his 600th career NHL game. Had there not been a lockout last year, Marleau would have been the youngest player in NHL history to accomplish this feat.
The San Jose Sharks will play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night at HP Pavilion. There is a special 5 p.m. start time for this game. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the HP Pavilion box office and all Ticketmaster locations. The game will air OLN and can be heard on the Sharks Radio Network and sjsharks.com