Ylönen scores in sixth round of shootout as Canadiens beat Sharks
Cayden Primeau made 31 saves, including stopping five straight attempts in the shootout. Neither team scored after the first round until Ylönen deked Sharks goalie Mackenzie Blackwood for game-winner.
“He’s got (those) buttery, silky hands and he’s good on his edges,” Primeau said. “Blackwood was playing really well so I was just ready if he missed it.”
Montreal has won back-to-back games after dropping four straight, starting off a road swing through California with wins in Anaheim and San Jose.
“This league is hard,” coach Martin St. Louis said. “You’ve got to find ways, and I think that’s what we did tonight.”
The Sharks led 2-1 entering the third, but Cole Caufield tied the game three minutes into the third on a wrist shot off a 2-on-1 counterattack. The goal gave the team life, according to St. Louis.
“We were down on the scoreboard, but I didn’t feel like we were getting beat,” St. Louis said.
San Jose, responding to a 7-1 loss at Seattle on Wednesday after which coach David Quinn called his team’s performance “embarrassing,” outshot an opponent for the first time this season, but have dropped six of seven. Quinn said the Sharks looked “a lot more like a hockey team tonight.”
“You’re going to have bad nights in this league from time to time, and you want to make sure they don’t turn into two bad nights in a row,” Quinn said.
Blackwood stopped 22 shots, including a breakaway opportunity seconds into overtime.
Johnathan Kovacevic cut the lead in half with two minutes left in the second period on a wrist shot. Jayden Struble, playing in his second NHL game, recorded his first career point with an assist on the goal.
After the Canadiens went down two goals, St. Louis talked to his players on the bench. Caufield, who netted his sixth goal this season to snap a seven-game drought, said the message wasn't about how the team was playing.
“We knew what we had to do,” Caufield said. “You go down 2-0, obviously they’re kind of taking the momentum to us. We just had to settle down and play our game and get back to it.”
The game was scoreless until five minutes into the second period, when Mike Hoffman buried a shot past Primeau off a pass by William Eklund from behind the net. Hoffman, who did not score until Nov. 14 after being acquired by the Sharks in the offseason, has since taken over the team lead in goals.
Eklund made it 2-0 at 12:30 of the second period with a one-timer on the power play, moments into the penalty. With the goal, the 21-year-old Eklund recorded the first multi-point game of his career. Quinn said the way Eklund played on Friday is the “player we need."
“Our compete level was way better," Eklund said. "If we play like this, we have the chance to win more games.”
Sharks: Host Vancouver on Saturday night.
Canadiens: Visit Los Angeles on Saturday.
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