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Canadiens try to cap strong month, host Sharks

Nov 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Kirby Dach (77) celebrates the game winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during a shootout at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The surprising Montreal Canadiens will look for a third consecutive victory — which would be their second three-game winning streak this month — when they host the reeling San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

Consider that Montreal had one winning streak longer than two games only once last season, when they had the worst record in the league, but this November are a solid 6-5-1.

San Jose, meantime, lost for the fifth time in six games Sunday when Vancouver’s Andrei Kuzmenko scored the 4-3 game-winner 1:12 into overtime.

The Canadiens are coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over host Chicago on Friday when Kirby Dach provided the difference against his former team with the final shootout goal.

Montreal had a 2-1 lead in the third when Chicago’s Taylor Raddysh tied the score 2-2 with 3:54 remaining in regulation.

In the shootout, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki scored for Montreal, while Jonathan Toews and Andreas Athanasiou scored for Chicago, but Patrick Kane failed to get the puck past Canadiens goalie Sam Montembeault (5-2-1, 2.48 GAA).

Dach ended the game against his former team by beating Arvid Soderblom.

“It’s definitely built for the dramatic, for sure,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said of Dach’s game-winning goal. “You want to play a big game coming back here. I liked his game. To have the opportunity to be that guy that seals the deal at the end, it’s good that he was in that position. Obviously, he delivered for us.”

Dach posted 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) in 152 regular-season games for Chicago, who drafted him with the third overall pick of the 2019 NHL draft. The Blackhawks traded him to Montreal on the day of this year’s draft for a first- and third-round pick that night.

Dach has flourished in Montreal, where he has 17 points (four goals, team-high 13 assists) in 21 games this season after recording a career-high 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 70 games with the Blackhawks last season.

Suzuki is tied for the team lead with 12 goals to go along with 12 assists for a team-high 24 points, while Caufield has 12 goals and nine assists. No other Canadien has more than five goals.

San Jose has given up 89 goals, with only Anaheim’s 94 worse in the league. The Sharks have allowed 17 goals during their three-game losing streak.

The Sharks squandered a 2-1 third-period lead Sunday before Luke Kunin scored his second goal of the game with 5:15 remaining to send the game to overtime. Kuzmenko beat San Jose goalie Kaapo Kahkonen (2-5-2, 3.81 GAA) just 72 seconds into the extra session.

Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, while Nick Bonino had two assists.

“There’s no quit in this group,” Kunin said. “I think we’ve said that a lot, and I think it shows. It’s never a lack of work ethic, it’s never a lack of will to want to win. It’s just being smarter in different situations.”

Erik Karlsson leads the Sharks with 32 points on 11 goals and a team-high 21 assists that are tied for third-most in the league. Tomas Hertl has five goals and 16 assists, while Timo Meier and Couture each have a team-high 12 goals, with Meier adding 10 assists and Couture eight.

–Field Level Media

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