What was going on in the world the last time the Montreal Canadiens won a game in San Jose?
Lou Bega’s Mambo Number Five topped the charts, Amazon began it’s takeover of the universe and some guy named Wayne Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
And yours truly was eight years old.
22 years later and the Montreal Canadiens are 1-6 on the season taking on the 4-2 Sharks after getting shutout by San Jose 5-0 just eleven days ago.
The Habs arguably suffered their worst loss of the season 5-1 to the Seattle Kraken Tuesday night. It was the fourth time this season that the Montreal Canadiens have allowed four or more goals. And players sounded part dejected, part lost post-game.
“We knew what Seattle was going to bring tonight,” said an exasperated Josh Anderson. “There’s no question. Second home game they’re going to come out hard. We expected that. I don’t know what else to tell you. I really don’t.”
Jeff Petry appeared to be in shock regarding his team’s performance. “We knew that we had to be close to each other to break the puck out to get through the neutral zone and we’re not. We’re skating away from guys with the puck, we’re not close to support, we’re not second in to battles. We’re just disconnected right now.”
Head coach Dominique Ducharme has used that same word several times to describe the team’s in-game struggles. Disconnected. Combine that with Anderson already running out of words to say with 75 games left to go and the Montreal Canadiens appear to have hit rock-bottom. Hopefully.
Jake Evans will miss his second straight game with an undisclosed injury tonight. Other than that, no changes to the team that lost to Seattle on Tuesday.
Here are your expected lines for the Montreal Canadiens
Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson
Hoffman – Suzuki – Gallagher
Toffoli – Perreault – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Paquette – Armia
Chiarot – Petry
Romanov – Savard
Niku – Kulak
Early this season, the San Jose Sharks are holding off on the notion that they are on the brink of a rebuild. Despite two straight losses to the Bruins and Predators, the Sharks 4-2 start has inspired optimism that they can be more competitive than previously thought.
Central to the team’s early success has been the red-hot start of the line of Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Jonathan Dahlen. Dahlen scored his first two goals of his career against the Habs while Meier and Couture had three points each. The Sharks de-facto first line has combined for 23 points through six games.
“I think it’s a combination (of things),” said head coach Bob Boughner about the trio’s success after their 5-0 win over the Habs. “Dahlen’s a real smart player and I think he’s a good complement to that line. He’s a guy who’s new to the league but you can put him out in (all) situations…Timo’s found a different gear, he looked like a man amongst boys out there tonight. The power in his game, he’s taking pucks to the net…and (Logan) is enjoying playing with those guys right now.”
What might be most worrying to the Montreal Canadiens might not be the Sharks offence but their focus on the defensive side of the puck. San Jose are fifth in the league with just 2.33 goals against per game. Not ideal for a Habs team that is averaging a league worst 1.57 goals per game.
Here are the San Jose Sharks projected lines per Puckpedia
Dahlen – Couture – Meier
Eklund – Hertl – Balcers
Cogliano – Bonino – Labanc
Pederson – Weatherby – Gadjovich
Ferraro – Burns
Middleton – Karlsson
Simek – Vlasic
- Sharks head coach Bob Boughner will coach his 100th NHL game tonight
- San Jose defenceman Brent Burns has recorded points in each of his last nine games against the Habs
- The Habs are 3-14-3 all-time in San Jose. It is the highest winning percentage for the Sharks against an opponent in the league
- Since 2013-14, Burns (486) and Karlsson (468) are first and second in points by defencemen in the league
- Habs head coach Dominique Ducharme’s regular season record is 16-22-7 since taking over in February of 2020
- Mike Hoffman has two goals in four games with the Habs and they could use him tonight. Hoffman has 23 points in 21 career games against the Sharks