There's no denying the San Jose Sharks were in dire need of a win, and a statement win at that, after dropping four straight. On Sunday evening, they got exactly that.
The Sharks notched their first lead on this five-game road trip early in the first period and never looked back as they defeated the Canadiens 3-1 in Montreal.
Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' Sunday night contest:
The Sharks played a full 60
As we've discussed all throughout this road trip – well, for good chunks of the season, to be honest – San Jose has only shown streaks of upper echelon play through games. "Spurts" was the term Logan Couture used. On Sunday in Montreal, they finally stretched that effort out across a whole game.
San Jose didn't get on their heels when Jeff Petry scored a goal for the Habs in the second period. Instead of settling into their recent habit of letting the opposition back in during that second 20 minutes, the Sharks continued to grind and kept up with Montreal's speed all while playing a smothering defense to keep the opposition at bay.
Response from different parts of the lineup
When a team needs to rally from a losing streak, they need players to step up and lead the charge. In the Sharks' case, more than one player seized the opportunity to contribute.
San Jose's big guns, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns, led the charge on the scoreboard. Then the Sharks got a continued boost from Marcus Sorensen, and rookie center Antti Suomela charged the net the best he has since the very beginning of the season.
Being back on a line with Joonas Donskoi and Evander Kane may have helped Sorensen as well. Kudos can't be handed out without complimenting Justin Braun, who on top of having a solid defensive game also found the back of the net for the first time this season.
Then there was this guy …
Two words: Martin. Jones.
The Sharks starting netminder has made some great saves over the first part of the season, but many of them have been negated by the fact he has also let a lot of pucks passed him.
Although he wasn't tested so much in the first frame – save that glove save he made on Max Domi – he stood his ground when Montreal pushed back in the second stanza. The Sharks needed Jones to step up big to counter the stellar performance Carey Prince was putting on at the other end of the ice, and he was able to do just that.
Even when the Sharks had to go on the penalty kill with less than five minutes to go in the game.