Canadiens’ Saku Koivu and Sharks’ Joe Pavelski
fight for possession of the puck during the first period Monday night in San Jose, Calif. REUTERS/Robert
Links updated at 11 a.m.
As most Montrealers slept as the Canadiens took on the Sharks in San Jose Monday night, it often appeared that many of the Habs were in dream land, starting with goaltender Carey Price. His mishandling of a harmless looking shot from Sharks tough guy Jodey Shelley gave San Jose a 4-3 lead near the end of the second period, a goal the Canadiens never recovered from as the Sharks defeated the Habs 6-4.
Price looked weak on almost all of the goals, including Shelley’s and Brian Campbell’s goal late in the third period that sealed the San Jose win after a nice spin move to shed a Montreal defender.
The Sharks appeared to rattle Price early as they crashed the net and got in the young goaltender’s face all night.
The game got off to a fast start offensively as Patrick Marleau scored less than a minute in on a pretty play after a pass from Devin Setoguchi. Tomas Plekanec got that one back for the Canadiens a minute and a half later for his 25th goal of the season.
But Joe Thornton gave that Sharks the lead again, making it 2-1 when he banked a shot off Price, who was sprawled on the ice after being knocked down accidentally by Bryan Smolinski.
The Canadiens settled down after that, but they got into some penalty trouble 13 minutes into the first period as they went down two men for 1:18. The penalty killers and Price held their ground and set the table for the tying goal moments later. That’s when Ryan O’Byrne scored his first NHL goal before the first period was over to tie the game at 2-2 on a shot from the point that got by a screened Evgeni Nabokov.
Thornton and Plekanec traded second-period goals before Shelley’s shot eluded Price to make it 4-3 San Jose. Plekanec has scored five goals in the last three games.
Jonathan Cheechoo made it 5-3 San Jose 3:25 into the third period when he undressed Josh Gorges and then beat Price from close range over the glove side.
Maxim Lapierre scored his sixth goal of the season less than a minute later to close the gap to 5-4.
Despite the loss, which snapped a three-game winning streak, the Canadiens were able to maintain top spot in the Northeast Division as the Ottawa Senators were 3-1 losers in Anaheim.
Montreal went 0-for-7 on the power play, while San Jose was 2-for-5 with the man advantage and outshot the Canadiens 39-31.
The next stop on the four-game road trip is Phoenix on Thursday night.