The Canadians hit the wall on the power play in a scoreless loss to the Sharks, who snatch a 3-game losing kid

Kaapo Kahkonen stood on his head to make sure the San Jose Sharks started their four-game Eastern Conference road trip the right way.

The Finnish goaltender recorded his first shutout for the Sharks, stopping 28 shots to lead them to a 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

« It’s great, but it also shows how we played as a team, » Kahkonen said. « Huge, huge blocks [penalty] kills, good sticks on the PK and boxing guys so I can see the pucks, so thanks to the guys in front of me. »

Kahkonen has had a tough time at the office lately. Coming off a convincing 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 21, the goaltender has allowed four or more goals in four of his last five games but bounced back with his first shutout since March 16, 2021.

« I think he’s really confident because he’s leaning on the game in Ottawa, » Sharks coach David Quinn said. « He played well in Seattle, but to come back and play like he did today, I think is just another step in the right direction for him. And that was a big step tonight. »

« Honestly, I feel so happy for him, » added Sharks striker Tomas Hertl. « He was great and that’s kind of what we need him in the back. He looked confident and he made good plays on PK and it wasn’t easy because we gave a few chances but it was a really strong game from him. »

WATCH l Couture scores 13th goal of the season as Sharks edge past Canadians:

Sharks’ Couture scores on a breakaway in a shutout win over the Canadiens

Logan Couture receives a long pass from Matt Benning and shoots his 13th goal of the season as San Jose blanks Montreal 4-0.

Hertl scored two third period goals, including one in an empty net, for San Jose (8-13-4). Matt Nieto and Logan Couture added the others as the Sharks snapped a three-game losing streak.

Jake Allen made 20 saves for Montreal (11-10-1).

The Canadiens hit a power play wall going 0-for-6 against league-leading San Jose.

« It’s a bit of everything, » said Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis. « We are going to watch the video and we are going to learn lessons for this game, [the power play] was the difference tonight. »

« Maybe we just needed to be in better places for the low plays, I think we had a few chances to try and get him to the net, » added Montreal forward Nick Suzuki. « I kept watching it on the iPad, trying to figure things out during the game. I mean, I don’t know how many chances we had on the power play, but we had enough to score from a shot. sure. »

Quinn paid tribute to his coaching staff, which already had the league’s second-most effective penalty kill prior to his arrival as head coach in July.

« It’s not easy when you find yourself in a situation and you got the second penalty kill in the league last year, » Quinn said. « You want to put your spin on it, but you also understand that this thing has been very successful.

« So I think we, and [assistant coach Ryan Warsofsky] in particular, struck a really good balance between putting his fingerprints on it, but also understanding that this thing wasn’t broken. »

San Jose strikes 1st

The Sharks drew first blood at 1:33 of the first period when winger Alexander Barabanov attempted a pass and Nieto zoomed into the crease to tap the puck on a rebound.

St. Louis challenged the play for offside, but video review confirmed Barabanov was onside in the build-up and the goal stood.

With 1:51 left in the first period, Brendan Gallagher had the Bell Center crowd roaring when he hit the crossbar in the left faceoff circle.

In the second, Canadiens forward Christian Dvorak beat Kahkonen to tie, but the goal was canceled. The referee said Montreal winger Evgenii Dadonov was assessed a penalty for interference when he checked defender Nick Cicek into the San Jose net.

The Canadiens started the third period on a five-on-three power play due to a late game call delay, but the Sharks managed to kill the penalty and responded with three goals.

« We needed it, » Quinn said of the win. « It was a fun game with all the penalties, we haven’t had this type of game in a long time. Our special teams were huge. That kill to start the third period, and a huge block by [defenceman Matt Benning], kind of gave us some juice and we scored right after. But we needed it. »

Hertl redirected a pass from Kevin Labanc into the back of the net at 2:29 of the third.

Just over a minute later, Benning located Couture with a stretch pass and the Sharks captain found himself on the breakaway and beat Allen to give his team a 3-0 advantage.

Hertl froze the game at 17:46 of the period by skating the puck into an empty net.


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