Sharks continue road trip with visit to Canadiens

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The San Jose Sharks continue a five-game road trip Thursday night when they visit the Montreal Canadiens, who are returning from a two-game trip.

The Sharks started their trip Tuesday with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres, who also beat them 4-3 on Saturday at home in regulation time.

“These two games, we’re playing OK, but we’re still not winning,” said Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, who had a goal and an assist Tuesday.

“That’s what this business is about, is winning games. Especially when we’re feeling like we’re playing decent, we need to find ways to win games, and right now we’re not doing that. We get a point but by no means should we be satisfied with that.”

On their two-game trip, the Canadiens defeated the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 5-2 Saturday before losing 4-3 Sunday to the Minnesota Wild.

The Canadiens (4-3-2) are getting production from right winger Brendan Gallagher, center Phillip Danault and left winger Tomas Tatar, a trio that has been together since the beginning of last season, evolving into the Habs’ No. 1 line.

Gallagher and Danault are tied for the team lead with four goals each this season and Tatar has notched three. Combined, they have 23 points in nine games.

“You want to produce,” Gallagher told the Montreal Gazette Tuesday. “I couldn’t care less who scores the goal. I think it’s important you want to be a part of it. As a line you always talk about how you want to be plus players, you want to be scoring more than you’re giving up. That’s part of it. If Tuna or Phil score, I’m equally excited.”

Gallagher is plus-3 this season, while Danault and Tatar are each plus-2.

Last season, Gallagher scored 33 goals and was plus-10, Tatar scored 25 goals and was plus-21 and Danault had 12 goals with a plus-17.

“They’re pretty easy players to play with,” Gallagher said. “For me, they seem to find me quite a bit and that’s probably why I end up with more shots. They’re very good playmakers and for me to stick to my game is kind of what I try to do.”

They work so well together Canadiens coach Claude Julien has kept them intact as a line.

“It’s nice,” Gallagher said. “Even through struggles or whatever, he’ll break us up in the game, but he has that trust in us that he’s able to put us together the next night and trust us that we’re going to figure it out.”

The Sharks (3-5-1) have hurt themselves with mistakes this season, most recently in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Buffalo when Timo Meier and Kevin Lebanc were guilty of staying out too long on an overtime shift. As both players were leaving the ice, the Sabres capitalized by scoring the winning goal.

“It’s an inexcusable change,” Sharks captain and center Logan Couture said. “Two guys stayed out for long, looking for offense. It’s a selfish play that doesn’t need to be a part of this team, so we’ll figure that out.”

Karlsson agreed, adding, “We’ve got to find a way, even though we’re tired, when it’s everybody’s turn to do something with the puck and put it in a good place. No matter how tired you are, you have to do it. It ended up costing us the game.”

–Field Level Media

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