In the Crease: Sharks look for season sweep vs. Habs

In the Crease: Sharks look for season sweep vs. Habs
March 8, 2014, 9:45 am

Brent Burns and Joe Thornton combined for three goals and one assist in the Sharks win over the Penguins on Thursday. (USATSI)

Programming note 
Sharks-Canadiens coverage gets underway on Comcast SportsNet California at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live

Where they stand
Sharks: 40-17-7, 87 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference
Canadiens: 35-23-7, 77 points, 2nd Atlantic Division, 3rd Eastern Conference

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks’ recorded their 40th win of the season on Thursday, 5-3 over Pittsburgh, thanks to four goals in the third period. Brent Burns scored twice, including an empty-netter, and Patrick Marleau, Justin Bruan and Joe Thornton (game-winner) also found the net. San Jose improved to 23-4-4 at home, and is 5-1-1 in its last seven overall. The Sharks have reached 40 wins for the 11th time since 2000-01.

[RELATED: Important stretch for Sharks' Niemi starts with win]

Canadiens: Montreal concludes a four-game road trip tonight in which they have lost two of three, including in Phoenix on Thursday night, 5-2. Thomas Vanek, acquired from New York at the trade deadline, made his debut for the Canadiens and was scoreless with one shot and a -1 rating. Montreal beat Anaheim the night before in a shootout, 4-3, but lost to the Kings on March 3, 2-1.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Brent Burns. The big forward played what was easily his most effective game since the Olympic break on Thursday against Pittsburgh, scoring a key third period goal. He was also noticeably aggressive, using his six-foot-five, 230-pound frame to wear down the Penguins. It’s been a streaky season for Burns in terms of goal-scoring, and with three goals in his last two games, he looks to be trending in the right direction again.

[RELATED: Marleau's goal best since Hertl's]

Canadiens: P.K. Subban. The defending Norris Trophy winner is third in the league among scoring by defenseman with 45 points (10g, 35a). He’s also tied for 10th in the NHL with Joe Pavelski in power play points, with 22, manning the point with his skillful skating and powerful slap shot. This will be just his third career game against San Jose.

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 2.91 (7th)
Goals-against per game: 2.38 (6th)
Power play: 16.7 percent (21st)
Penalty kill: 83.5 percent (8th)

Canadiens
Goals per game: 2.48 (20th)
Goals-against per game: 2.45 (8th)
Power play: 19.3 percent (13th)
Penalty kill: 84.2 percent (5th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matt Nieto
Raffi Torres – James Sheppard – Tommy Wingels
Tyler Kennedy – Andrew Desjardins – Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Jason Demers
Scott Hannan – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle


Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Canadiens
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Thomas Vanek – Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta
Alex Galchenyuk – Danny Briere – Rene Bourque
Travis Moen – Lars Eller – Ryan White

Jarred Tinordi – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Mike Weaver – Douglas Murray

Peter Budaj
Dustin Tokarski

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery) and Brad Stuart (upper body) are out.

Canadiens: Carey Price (lower body), Josh Gorges (broken hand), Michael Bournival (concussion) and Brandon Prust (upper body) are out.

Season/All-Time series

San Jose beat Montreal in the first meeting at Bell Centre, 2-0 on Oct. 26. Logan Couture scored both Sharks goals and Antti Niemi had 22 saves in a shutout performance.

All-time, the Sharks are 11-13-4-1 against the Canadiens.

Quoteable

“I think tonight was a solid team effort. This is how you become a team and how you start, knowing that you can win these kind of games against teams like that.” – Raffi Torres, after the 5-3 win over the Penguins

Burning question

What is your favorite memory of Douglas Murray? Leave your answer in the comments section below.