It's no secret that the Sharks have been true to to their name this season. Well. Pretty close to it, anyway. Sitting at 89 points in 63 games, they reign over the sea of the Western Conference with only the Chicago Blackhawks in their way of top seed (same amount of points, but Chicago has two more wins). Not to mention they have about half of Team Canada's gold-medal winning roster in their ranks. The Canadiens, in addition to their usual western roadtrip habits, have not been able to win at the hp pavilion this decade (may I just take this opportunity to point out that a 21 year old Marco Sturm was in that November 23rd, 1999 game).
I had to.
However, both teams are 5-4-1 in their last ten games and there are no wild cards at play since neither team made changes (aside from Matt D'Agostini's departure, good luck, Dags) at yesterday's trade deadline. If there was a time for our beloved Tricolore to pull out a surprise win, tonight's matchup would be it.
The two teams last met a year ago, and Jaroslav Halak stood on his head as the Canadiens took the Bell Centre meeting 3-2. No word on a starting goaltender as of yet, but indicators might point to Carey Price making a second straight appearance as he wasn't too shabby in the 4-1 win against Boston on Tuesday and Halak is still recovering from his Olympics.
Bigger leads are better against the Sharks, as they nearly pulled out a win (or at least a point) against New Jersey after being down 4-0, a.k.a. defensive hockey won't cut it here tonight.
Some Jaws-related pun that I can't think of at the moment
- Ottawa native Dan Boyle is a sneaky little playmaking defenseman, responsible for 12 points, mostly assists (but you know he can score), against the Canadiens over the course of his career.
- Russian backstop Evgeni Nabokov is looking to rebound from the last two weeks he spent in Vancouver. Sharks' coach Todd McLellan was recently quoted as saying the team's confidence in their goaltender hasn't faltered, and you can bet he'll be ready to prove them right.
- Devin Setoguchi manned the near-comeback against New Jersey with two goals.
- In the "predicting who will score for Team Canada" mission I inadvertently gave myself, Dany Heatley was always the one who kept me from being right 100% of the time (I had a ridiculous accuracy rate going for the round robin).
- Of course there's also Jumbo Joe Thornton, but don't forget little Joe Pavelski either.
- At this rate, there should probably be a bullet point for the entire team.