It may have taken 16 days between games, but the San Jose Sharks have finally lost two in a row in regulation.
They’ll look to avoid a third straight loss Thursday night when they try to hand the Montreal Canadiens another defeat at HP Pavilion.
San Jose (40-14-9), which is battling Washington and Chicago for the Presidents’ Trophy, came out of the Olympic break with a listless effort in a 4-3 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday. The Sharks had 20 shots - a season low at home - in their first game since a 3-1 loss at Buffalo on Feb. 13.
“I think we had eight guys that didn’t have a shot on goal,” coach Todd McLellan said. “It can’t be fun playing the game like that. You put 60 minutes in and you have no chance of scoring.”
The game was scoreless midway through before the Devils scored twice in a 35-second span and added a third before the end of the second period. Olympic defenseman Dan Boyle(notes) was victimized on the first goal.
“We’re not very happy with how we played in the second,” Boyle said. “Obviously, that was not a very good period on our part and that’s why we were down 3-0. The first goal was a huge mistake of mine and I’m upset with myself.”
The Sharks need to get more from their top goal scorers. Dany Heatley(notes) (32 goals) failed to score for the season-high fifth straight game while Patrick Marleau(notes) (38) matched his longest drought of the season by not scoring for the sixth time in a row.
San Jose has won four straight home meetings with Montreal (30-28-6) since a 3-2 overtime loss Nov. 23, 1999. The Canadiens won 3-2 at home in last season’s meeting.
Montreal will be playing in California for the first time in two seasons after beginning a four-game road trip with a 4-1 victory over Boston on Tuesday. The Canadiens trailed 1-0 after two periods before Glen Metropolit(notes) and Mathieu Darche(notes) each had a goal and an assist in the third.
“We knew this stretch was going to be really important, and we knew we needed to start it off right,” said Carey Price(notes), who stopped 23 shots. “I think after the break everybody realizes how important the games are.”
Price has faced the Sharks once, allowing all six goals on 39 shots in a 6-4 loss in the Canadiens’ last visit March 3, 2008.
Montreal winger Travis Moen(notes) has four assists in his last six games. Moen is facing the Sharks for the first time since playing in 19 games for San Jose last season after being acquired from Anaheim.