HOCKEY

San Jose Sharks end 12-game skid with 3-2 road win over Canadiens

Jan 11, 2024, 7:13 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2024, 8:29 am

Justin Barron #52 of the Montreal Canadiens plays the puck along the boards during the first period...

MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 11: Justin Barron #52 of the Montreal Canadiens plays the puck along the boards during the first period against the San Jose Sharks at the Bell Centre on January 11, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks ended a 12-game losing streak by hanging on for a dramatic 3-2 road victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

Luke Kunin, Fabian Zetterlund, and Nikita Okhotiuk all scored as the Sharks ended a month of frustration with their fourth road win (4-17-1) of the season.

San Jose’s string of regulation losses was one of the 22 longest losing streaks in NHL history, and the longest since the Buffalo Sabres’ 14-game drought during the 2014-15 season.

Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 33 of 35 shots to earn his fifth win in 27 games this season.

Brendan Gallagher and Josh Anderson scored for the Canadiens, and Mike Matheson had two assists. Goaltender Sam Montembeault stopped 32 of 35 shots.

With Montembeault pulled for most of the last five minutes, the Canadiens went on an offensive flurry that included Anderson’s goal at 16:26 of the third period. However, Blackwood held steady as the Habs couldn’t manage the equalizer.

The Canadiens are 2-5-1 in their last eight games.

The Sharks are a perfect 8-0-0 in their last eight games in Montreal. The Canadiens haven’t beaten the Sharks on home ice since the 2014-15 season.

An ill-advised clearance pass from Habs defenseman Jayden Struble led to the game’s opening goal at 5:19 of the first period. Struble attempted to get the puck out from behind Montreal’s goal line, but Kunin was in front to collect and deposit the loose puck.

Zetterlund extended San Jose’s lead at 17:25 of the first, but the Canadiens responded just 21 seconds later. Gallagher blasted a one-timer from the slot for his seventh goal of the season.

The Sharks rebounded with one of the best periods of their difficult season. San Jose outshot Montreal 17-9 in the second frame, and extended their lead on Okhotiuk’s goal at the 16:44 mark.

Mikael Granlund started the play by taking the puck in the corner, skating behind Montreal’s net and heading back to the high slot. With the Canadiens’ attention directed at Granlund, the forward’s excellent pass found an open Okhotiuk approaching the net, and he converted his first goal of the season.

–Field Level Media

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