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Couture sscores two as Sharks blank Habs

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MONTREAL -- San Jose Sharks goaltender Anti Niemi is learning to keep his head in the game when his teammates are busy keeping their opponents at bay.

Niemi made 22 saves for his second shutout in three games and Logan Couture scored twice to lead San Jose to a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

The Sharks bounced back from their first regulation loss Thursday night in Boston to improve to 9-1-1.

"There was a time in the second where I didn't get too many shots, the first 10 minutes probably, so of course it's harder to stay focused, but it's happened quite a few times so far so I feel better about it right now," said Niemi, who stopped 24 shots in a 1-0 shootout win in Detroit on Monday.

It was his 25th career shutout.

"He's a big goalie who covers a lot of ice," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. "This is how you beat him is he leaves a lot of rebounds because he plays low and covers that low ice and we've got to get there for second and third opportunities, and we just weren't able to penetrate long enough. We had some flashes but we just didn't do it consistently enough."

Patrick Marleau assisted on both goals as San Jose claimed its first win at the Bell Centre since Dec. 17, 2002.

Couture opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the second. He added his second of the game into a wide open net 4:09 into the third.

"I've had a couple of empty-netters so I've been lucky this year," Couture said.

His latest came about after Montreal goalie Carey Price was caught behind the net when Marleau's dump-in slap shot took an odd bounce off the corner glass and caromed in front.

"I thought we did a better job in the third of keeping the puck away from Carey," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We got it up on the glass a little bit more because he's as good as a defenseman in handling it, so that helped us as well.

"That's where we needed to put it. We talked about that before the game and you could see, even in the third, he likes to come out and play the puck, and when it's up on the glass it doesn't matter what rink you're in, you can't trust it."

Price made 33 saves for the Canadiens, who lost three of four to close out a 2-3-0 homestand.

"They play well," Price said. "There's not much else to explain it. Our guys were working hard out there. There was not much to blame as far as effort goes."

Couture redirected Joe Thornton's pass into the left side of the net for his fifth goal 6:20 into the second to put San Jose up 1-0.

Price made a spectacular glove save on Brad Stuart's slap shot with 15.5 seconds left in the second.

Marleau got his second assist of the game when his dump-in took a crazy bounce.

Montreal's Travis Moen left the game midway through the third bleeding heavily from a cut to the face after he was struck there by Stuart's clearing attempt. He did not return though Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said afterward that Moen had simply been cut.

Following the game, the Canadiens assigned defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and right winger Patrick Holland to AHL Hamilton.

NOTES: Sharks RW Brent Burns missed his third straight game and will also be out for Sunday's game in Ottawa. Burns did not make the trip to Montreal. He returned to San Jose from Boston for further evaluation of a mouth injury he suffered a week ago in a 6-3 win over Calgary. ... RW Mike Brown was left out of San Jose's lineup after making his Sharks debut Thursday against the Bruins. He was acquired from Edmonton on Monday in exchange for San Jose's fourth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Brown has 19 penalty minutes, all as a member of the Oilers, and no points in nine games this season. ... It was San Jose's first game at the Bell Centre since Dec. 4, 2010, a 3-1 win for Montreal on the Canadiens' 101st anniversary. ... D Greg Pateryn was left out of Montreal's lineup. ... Injured Canadiens include RW Daniel Briere and RW George Parros (concussion), LW Brandon Prust (shoulder), LW Max Pacioretty (hamstring), D Alexei Emelin (knee), D Davis Drewiske (shoulder) and D Douglas Murray (upper body).
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