Montreal sits in a mighty fine position in the Eastern Conference at the quarter mark of the season. The first season of the post-P.K. Subban has been everything the Habs have wanted it to be thus far, thanks to stellar play from Carey Price and an unbelievably hot start from Shea Weber.
Whether those two things continue (at least one probably will) or not, the Habs have banked a ton of points and look like a playoff team again. They’re not a great possession team, but you get some leeway with a goaltender as good as Price in net and offensive talent like Weber and Max Pacioretty on the ice.
This will be billed as a benchmark game for the Sharks, who will get four days off following tonight’s contest. While the concept of such a thing in general doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me (one game, no matter the opponent, really shouldn’t tell you more about a team than 20 games), it would be nice to see the Sharks play more consistently than they did against the Kings on Wednesday.
San Jose played fine in stretches, particularly at the end of the first and the second, but the Kings narrowly edged the Sharks in terms of even strength possession thanks in part to the very defensive third period. That’s in the past, though, and now the Sharks host a team I think they’re quite a bit better than on Friday night before getting some much-needed rest.
Martin Jones will almost certainly get the start in net, while it’s possible, but unlikely, that Matt Nieto or Tommy Wingels will draw into the San Jose lineup. The game is on CSN-California at 7:30 p.m.