Programming note: Canadiens-Sharks coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
Where they stand
Sharks: 30-25-8, 68 points, 5th Pacific Division
Canadiens: 41-16-5, 87 points, 1st Atlantic Division
[RELATED: NHL standings]
Sharks: The Sharks lost their eighth straight home game on Saturday, 4-2 to Ottawa, blowing a third period lead and losing in regulation for the second straight game. Patrick Marleau scored a power play goal and Tommy Wingels opened the scoring, but San Jose competed the month of February with an 0-6-2 mark on home ice. The Sharks visit Vancouver tomorrow, and return to play four more home games in a row against the Canucks, Penguins, Predators and Blackhawks. They are 3-8-2 in their last 13 games, and have lost five of six overall.
Canadiens: Montreal has won four straight, including a 4-0 blanking of Toronto on Saturday behind 30 saves from Carey Price, his sixth shutout of the season. David Desharnais scored twice in the win for the first place Canadiens. Montreal, 9-1-2 in its last 12, is kicking off a four-game road trip tonight that continues in Anaheim, Los Angeles and Arizona. It has outscored the opposition 17-5 during its four-game winning streak.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Joe Pavelski. The Sharks’ leading scorer has gone six games without a goal, his longest dry spell of the season. He hasn’t gotten much help from linemate Joe Thornton, who has just one assist in his last five games. Pavelski is still getting his looks, with 17 shots in the last six games, but he’ll have to start finding the back of the net again quickly for the Sharks to remain in the playoff race.
Canadiens: Max Pacioretty. Another American-born goal scorer like Pavelski, Pacioretty has reached the 30-goal plateau for the third time in his career with a goal against Columbus on Feb. 26. The 26-year-old former first round pick leads the Canadiens with 55 points, and is still looking for his first point in what will be his third career game vs. the Sharks.
Goals per game: 2.75 (16th)
Goals-against per game: 2.79 (23rd)
Power play: 20.9 percent (7th)
Penalty kill: 79.5 percent (25th)
Goals per game: 2.66 (18th)
Goals-against per game: 2.14 (1st)
Power play: 16.5 percent (25th)
Penalty kill: 86.0 percent (3rd)
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Melker Karlsson
Matt Nieto – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels
John Scott – Ben Smith – Barclay Goodrow
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Scott Hannan
Alex Stalock (confirmed starter)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Lars Eller – Tomas Plekanec – Alex Galchekyuk
Brandon Prust – Jacob De La Rose – Devante Smith-Pelly
Michael Bournival – Manny Malhotra – Dale Weise
Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu – Tom Gilbert
Sergei Gonchar – Greg Pateryn
Sharks: Raffi Torres (right knee) and Mike Brown (broken right fibula) are out.
Canadiens: Alexei Emilin (lower body) is out.
The Sharks and Canadiens will meet once more this season, on March 21 at Bell Centre.
All-time, the Sharks are 12-13-5 against Montreal, but have gone 8-3-0 in the last 11 head-to-head matchups.
“We had the lead twice tonight and we don’t get it done. We’ll come ready to work tomorrow, guys will come and pick themselves up after this and we’ll keep pushing and keep trying.” – Joe Pavelski, after the loss on Saturday