Programming note – Sharks-Canadiens coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 14-9-1, 29 points, 1st Pacific Division
Canadiens: 16-5-2, 34 points, 1st Atlantic Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***It’s a battle of first place teams at SAP Center, as the Sharks lead the Pacific Division and the Canadiens are atop the overall league standings. The Sharks are in the midst of playing eight of 10 at home, and bring a 5-1-0 mark in their last six games into tonight.
The Sharks will wrap up a stretch of 10 games in 18 days before they get a chance to rest before Wednesday’s home game with Ottawa.
“It’s been a lot of hockey. It will be nice to get a couple days after this to relax and recover a little bit,” Joe Thornton said. “We know we don’t play for another five days, so to get this win would be huge for us.”
Montreal is playing the third of a five-game road trip. It began with a 2-1 overtime win in Detroit last Saturday, and was followed by a 2-1 loss in Anaheim on Tuesday.
***The undisputed best goalie in the world will be in net for Montreal, as Carey Price (13-2-1, 1.68 GAA, .947 SP) will face the Sharks for the first time since March 21, 2015. He’s 2-4-1 in his career against San Jose, with a 2.70 GAA and .924 SP.
Goals figure to be hard to come by. The Sharks lead the league with just 2.08 goals allowed per game, while Montreal is third (2.13).
“We have to be prepared to win 2-1 here tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “That has to be the mindset. If we can get more than that, we’ll take it.”
Martin Jones will go for the Sharks. In his last 10 games, he’s 7-2-1 with a 1.50 GAA and .942 SP with a pair of shutouts.
***Tommy Wingels, who has missed the last three games with a lower body injury, will be a game-time decision. If he doesn’t play, expect Micheal Haley to remain in on the fourth line.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Logan Couture. The Sharks’ center is heating up, and has at least one point in six of the Sharks’ last eight games (6g, 2a). He’s tied with Brent Burns for the team lead in goals with nine, and led the way in San Jose’s 4-1 win on Wednesday night in Los Angeles with two goals and one assist.
Canadiens: Shea Weber. The defenseman has had an immediate impact in his first season in Montreal, with 18 points (8g, 10a) and an NHL-best plus-18 rating. Arguably the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy, Weber will be seeing the Sharks for the first time since his miserable performance in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals with Nashville.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Paul Byron – Alex Galchenyuk – Alex Radulov
Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – David Desharnais – Andrew Shaw
Torrey Mitchell – Phillip Danault – Brian Flynn
Alexei Emelin – Shea Weber
Andrei Markov – Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio – Greg Pateryn
Carey Price (starter)
Sharks: Tommy Wingels (lower body) is questionable. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.
Canadiens: Nathan Beaulieu (neck) and Charles Hudon (fractured sternum) are out.
“I’m biased but I think [our defense corps] is one of the top back ends in the league. They do a great job moving the puck, play well defensively, and I’m sure it’s tough for other teams to score on us.” – Logan Couture