Recap – Canadiens vs Sharks: Price Can’t Do It Alone

(Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 63, Away Game 30 | Monday March 3, 2015
SAP Center, San Jose, CA.




San Jose

(Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)



Lineup scratches: Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Mike Weaver
Injured reserve:  Alexei Emelin (upper-body)

Game Notes:

It was the last game of Trade Deadline day.  Both teams had rushed new acquisitions into service.  Both played reasonably well.  But on this night Ben Smith was better than Jeff Petry. Smith had a goal and an assist before being named the second star of the night.

More importantly, Smith scored the game’s first goal giving the reeling Sharks the boost that they needed.  It was a casual play by P.K. Subban who allowed Smith to get his stick on a Marc-Edouard Vlasic point shot to redirect it. That was shortly after Price was bumped in the crease.

Coming into the game, the Sharks had lost eight straight games at home.  They had a record of 3-8-2 in February.  With a their playoff chances slipping away, the Sharks held a players-only lunch at a local restaurant on Sunday.

The Canadiens were aware of these factors (or should have been.)  All they needed to do was to weather any storm and use their speed to counter the Sharks on their way to an early lead.  It would have demoralized San Jose and taken their fans out of the game.  But for the umpteenth time this season, the Canadiens were unprepared.

San Jose allows a lot of shots on goal (they are 20th in the league.) They are 23rd in the league in goals allowed. The Sharks have been having goaltending issues opting for their backup for Monday’s game.  Yet the Canadiens couldn’t get on the board and only managed 20 shots.

And poised to face the 25th ranked penalty-kill in the league, the Canadiens did not draw a single minor penalty.  Their own third ranked penalty-kill surrendered two goals on three opportunities.

The Canadiens allowed San Jose to win puck battles, to set bodies near the crease, and to get pucks to the net.  On the second goal, Subban didn’t do an effective job to box out Joe Pavelski who deflected a point shot for the Sharks second goal.  Redirects were used on the first, second and fourth goal. On the third goal, the Sharks lined up a multiple-player screen.

Carey Price did all he could do to keep his team in the game. But he was alone on this night.

Newly-arrived Jeff Petry started slowly and was soft on the puck on the third goal. But he skated well and loved the puck.  He seemed comfortable when paired with Tom Gilbert.

In his third game with his new team, Devante Smith-Pelly looked slow in foot speed and decision-making.  In his post-game presser coach Michel Therrien said that they will have to work with Smith-Pelly to get him into better condition. This is the same coach who couldn’t stand Jiri Sekac (the guy who broke the beep meter.)

P.A. Parenteau returned to the lineup after being out with a concussion since January 15th.  Parenteau looked lost and out of sync.

Some will complain about the officiating (with reason.) Did Joe Pavelski deflect the puck with a high stick?  Was the puck fully across the line before Brent Burns batted it out of mid air?  But the bottom line was that the Canadiens were outplayed, badly at stretches during the game.

The Canadiens ‘top’ line — David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher — took 27 minutes to get their first shot on goal of the game.  In almost every category, shots, hits, faceoffs, special teams and shot attempts, San Jose dominated in every respect of the game.  Except goaltending.

Plus / Minus

▲     Carey Price, Dale Weise, Lars Eller, Jeff Petry

▼     Brandon Prust, Brendan Gallagher, David Desharnais, P.K. Subban, Nathan Beaulieu, P.A. Parenteau, Devante Smith-Pelly

20 Shots 37
0 for 0 Power Play 2 for 3
37% Face-offs 63%
6 Penalty Mins 10
21 Hits 32
30 Fenwick For 50
48 Corsi For 71
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (41-17-5) 0 0 0 0
 Sharks (31-25-8) 2 1 1 4
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  No scoring.
  • SJS:  Smith (6), Pavelski (32), Irwin (7), Marleau (15)
  • MTL: Price (L) 36-12-3
  • SJS: Stalock (W) 6-7-1
 NHL Three Stars
  1.  Alex Stalock  SJS
  2.  Ben Smith  SJS
  3.  Joe Pavelski  SJS

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien

  • “Tonight, first of all you have to give a lot of credit to the Sharks, they were really aggressive and for us it seemed like we had no energy tonight. I thought our team was drained and it always happens this time of the season depending on a lot of things and tonight was one of those nights for us. … Was it because of the traveling or the time change? Not quite sure the reason why, but when the energy isn’t there it’s really difficult to play with that type of aggressiveness.”
  • “I really liked what I saw. [Jeff Petry] skates very well. He makes a good first pass. He was involved in the play. Under these circumstances, it was very tough for him to play, but I really liked what I saw from him out there.”

P.K. Subban

  • “They were sharp tonight, in all areas they were really sharp and we weren’t. We weren’t good enough tonight and against a team like that you can’t afford to not be sharp and not be ready to play; they were ready right from the puck drop and we knew they were going to come out hard. They have a reputation of coming out hard in the first 10 minutes, and once you get that first goal it’s just tough, it’s tough on the road. For us, we know we have to be sharper. We know we have to be better.”

Jeff Petry

  • “I just had to get my bags packed in Edmonton and coordinate with somebody to meet me halfway to the airport to drop off my gear. I didn’t even get in the rink to be able to talk to anybody or even pick up my gear myself. I arrived at SAP Center around 5:30. I got in some stretching and then it was time for warmup. It was a long day. I was trying to find my legs in the first period. In the second and third, I started to find my game.”
  • “It really helped me to be paired with Tom. I played with him a little bit a few years ago. That definitely helped my transition. Having Gibby there, playing with Patch at the World Championships, and I know Weaver a bit from the Michigan State connection. It was good to see some familiar faces.”
  • “I can definitely feel comfortable in it. They told me not to change my game, to continue moving my feet and getting pucks up to the forwards quickly, and to join the rush as the fourth guy. The Canadiens have a lot of speed and they take a lot of pride in their transition game. Working into this system requires an adjustment period, especially in the neutral and offensive zones. I got caught a few times with my old ways. I’ll learn this system as I go.”
  • “There was a lot of emotion. I couldn’t be more excited to join this club and be with them moving forward.”

Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock

  • “It was important and big for this team. Yesterday we had a group day with just the team. I think a lot came out and a lot got taken in. It was good. Obviously there was some stuff that happened today with moves. We know the group we have in here now and we got a spark from our new guy. That was huge and fun for him. The way the guys kept the foot on the gas pedal was pretty special to watch. We knew it was desperation time. I think you saw the guys in this room and how they responded.”

Sharks forward Ben Smith

  • “I had to drive home, grab a suitcase, a couple of suits. Got to the airport around 1 and flew out (to San Francisco) at 2. A little bit of a crazy day. They got me a car and we had a little bit of a police escort to get me down here.”
  • “Any time you get traded to a team you want to bring a boost whether they’re in first place in the League or last place. You want to come in and show you can help and try to find a way to give that team a boost. It starts shift by shift trying to do the small things that can uplift a team. It’s not just me coming in, it’s everybody on the team. Definitely a nice night. Nice for me to come in and be a part of a team win. It was a solid effort throughout.”

Sharks coach Todd McLellan

  • “There was an energy to the team that we haven’t seen for a while. I think some of that had to do with Ben Smith coming in and scoring right off the bat. He energized everybody.”
  • “I don’t think too many guys take their pregame skates and [travel] half a country away and land and throw your gear on and have that type of game. I think that speaks volumes about Ben(Smith’s) character, first of all. It would be easy to have a built-in excuse about fatigue and whatnot. I think he was really excited about being here. It energized the group.”
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