The San Jose Sharks made the most of their limited opportunities by defeating the Canadiens 4-0 on Tuesday night at the Bell Center.
San Jose had 24 shots on target, but three of their first 15 shots made their way behind Jake Allen, who returned to the net after Sam Montembeault scored back-to-back wins in Columbus and Chicago.
Allen didn’t get much support from his teammates.
The Canadiens aren’t very good at the power play, ranked 29th in the NHL, but they made life easier for the top-ranked penalty unit in the league. The Canadiens went 0-for-6 on the power play and failed to get a shot on goal during a 5-on-3 lead for 55 seconds to start the third period. The Canadiens passed the puck aimlessly for 43 seconds before Cole Caufield made a shot that was blocked.
Shortly after the Sharks’ penalties expired, Tomas Hertl scored to make it 2–0 and Logan Couture followed with his team-leading 13th goal of the season. Hertl completed the empty goal goal.
The Canadiens were lucky to come out of the first six minutes trailing 1-0.
Allen stopped Alexander Barabanov on a wraparound attempt, but the puck was on his feet when Matthew Nieto pushed the rebound across the goal line to open the scoring at 1:33.
Coach Martin St. Louis challenged the goal for an offside violation and the Canadiens received a minor delay of game penalty when the situation room in Toronto determined the play was in play.
The Canadiens killed the penalty, but four seconds after the team was back to full strength, Montreal again fell short when Johnathan Kovacevic put the puck on the glass and was awarded a delay of game penalty. Allen had a chance to establish himself with five saves as the Canadiens killed both penalties.
Montreal had two power plays later in the first period and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen got a lot of help from his teammates. San Jose blocked 13 shots in the period, seven of them playing behind. Montreal managed just two extra-man shots, both from Caufield.
Kahkonen made 28 saves for the shutout.
The Canadiens thought they had an equalizing goal five minutes into the second half when Christian Dvorak lifted a shot over a prone Kahkonen, but the goal was immediately disallowed because Evgenii Dadonov was guilty of shoving Nick Cicek into the goalie.
Montreal’s penalty taking continued to be a bright spot. The Sharks went 0-for-5 in their chances and the Canadiens’ PK moved into the top 10.
Aside from the change in goal, there was another change for the Canadiens with Jordan Harris replacing Arber Xhekaj.
The Canadiens head to Calgary to play the Flames on Thursday. It’s the start of a four-game Western road trip that continues with games in Edmonton, Vancouver and Seattle.
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