The NHL has a solid night ahead of them on Thursday night. Ten hockey games are up on the board for October 24. One of the matchups on the board will be between the San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens. These two teams have not been off to the greatest starts, but still have a lot of time in the season to turn things around. This game will start at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
San Jose has had a tough start to the season as they are in last place of the Pacific Division. The Sharks have gone 3-5-1 to open this season up. San Jose has lost their last two games and will look to get back on track. The Sharks are on the second game of a five game road trip and will look to earn a much needed win against Montreal.
The Canadiens have had a bit better of a start this season, putting up a record of 4-3-2. Montreal is currently sixth place of the Atlantic Division. Montreal is coming off a loss, but they have won three of their last five games. The Canadiens are starting a short two game home stand, which they will look to get kicked off with a win against San Jose.
The Sharks and the Canadiens could both be off to better starts, but they will look to earn another win on Thursday night. San Jose was expected to be a contender late into the playoffs this season, but have shown little signs of life to this point. The Sharks start to last season was not great, but they got it going eventually and I expect the same this season.
San Jose and Montreal played two games throughout last season. The Canadiens hosted the first game of the season. Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski both had a goal and an assist in that game. Martin Jones stopped 40 of 41 shots to help San Jose win 3-1. The second game of the season was in San Jose. Jones had another strong start, stopping 37 of 39 shots as the Sharks won 5-2.
The Sharks are coming off a home and home with the Buffalo Sabres and lost both games 4-3. Before those two losses, San Jose was on a three game winning streak. The Sharks knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes. San Jose has been streaky to start and need to recapture that magic from their winning streak.
Montreal had a tough loss to the Minnesota Wild in their last game on October 20. The Canadiens had a two game winning streak going on before that loss. Brenden Gallagher and Max Domi are tied for the team lead in points with nine. Phillip Danault, Joel Armia and Gallagher all have the team lead in goals with four on the season.
Despite the poor start to this season, San Jose’s special teams have been off to a strong start. The Sharks power play has been able to find the back of the net 7 times on their 32 attempts, which gives them a 21.9 percent. San Jose’s penalty kill has been even stronger, stopping 29 of 32 of their opponent’s power plays, which is a 90.6 percent.
The Canadiens have had a solid start to the season on special teams throughout this season. Montreal’s power play has been really dangerous, scoring on 9 of their 33 power play opportunities. The Canadiens have a 27.3 percent on the power play. Montreal’s opponents have only scored on 9 of 31 power play attempts this season, which is an 80 percent kill rate.
The Sharks have an edge on special teams in this matchup. The Sharks have a good chance to net a power play goal against the Canadiens struggling penalty kill. Montreal’s power play has been really strong, but they will have to go up against San Jose’s penalty kill, which has been even stronger so far this season.
Martin Jones is expected to be the starting goalie for San Jose in this matchup. Jones has struggled a bit this season as he has a 2-4-1 record. He has earned a .894 save percentage and a GAA of 3.47 on the season. Jones’ last start came against the Buffalo Sabres, where he finished with 25 saves on 29 shots in route to an overtime loss.
I believe that Carey Price will get the nod in the crease for Montreal in this game. Price has posted a save percentage of .912 and a 2.68 GAA. He has a record of 4-2-1 through seven starts this season. Price’s last start was against the St. Louis Blues where he allowed only 2 goals on 34 shots as the Canadiens earned the win.
Price has had a much better start throughout this season. Jones is off to a rough start after having a rough season last season as well. The Sharks have a strong defense, which will need to step up to give a little extra support to Jones. I expect San Jose to have a good chance to give Jones that help in this game on Thursday night.
I think that San Jose has a good chance to get back on track with a win on Thursday night. The Sharks have a nice edge on special teams in this game. Montreal has the edge in net with Price starting, but I think that San Jose’s defense could help slow down the Canadiens offense. The Sharks are a better team then this start shows, and I think they will bounce back.
BetOnline has Montreal listed as a -135 against the money line, which implies that the Canadiens will win this game around 57.5 percent of the time.
San Jose is a better team then this line implies. The Sharks are on a bit of a losing streak, but I believe that this is a prime game to turn it around. As such big underdogs, I am taking San Jose on the road.