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 CANADIENS HOST WESTERN CONFERENCE LEADING SHARKS

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Fournstar

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PostSubject: CANADIENS HOST WESTERN CONFERENCE LEADING SHARKS   Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:08 pm

CANADIENS HOST WESTERN CONFERENCE LEADING SHARKS
THE SPORTS NETWORK

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=269093&lid=sublink01&lpos=headlines_main

(Sports Network) - Two teams on winning runs meet tonight at the Bell Centre as the Montreal Canadiens host the San Jose Sharks.

Montreal is back on a positive track with three straight victories after losing its previous three.

The Canadiens picked up a big road victory on Friday night, as they edged the Philadelphia Flyers in an overtime game at the Wachovia Center. Mathieu Schneider scored on the power play 3:21 into OT to lift the Habs to a 4-3 decision over the Flyers.

The win pulled Montreal, which has 73 points, within three points of Philadelphia for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Montreal got a power play due to an interference call on Scottie Upshall, and it took advantage. Antero Niittymaki initially made some great glove saves, but Schneider blasted a shot from the right circle past the goaltender's glove for the win.

Alex Kovalev finished with a goal and two assists for Montreal. Tomas Plekanec and Tom Kostopoulos also scored, while Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves to earn the victory.

Halak has seemed to take over the starting role from Carey Price and has won three straight starts to improve to 15-10-1 on the season.

Montreal is home for one just one contest and will kick off a three-game road trip Wednesday in Buffalo. The Habs are 19-6-4 as the host this year and has won two straight and eight of their last 10 home tests.

The Sharks are leading the Western Conference with 93 points and are just three ahead of second-seeded Detroit. San Jose also entered Saturday with a whopping 28-point lead over Dallas and Anaheim for the Pacific Division lead.

San Jose had won four straight before losing a 4-1 decision in Detroit on Wednesday. However, the Sharks bounced back from that loss, as they won a close decision the following night in Ottawa.

Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau scored power-play goals 1:18 apart in the second period, as the Sharks edged the Senators, 2-1, at Scotiabank Place.

Brian Boucher made 23 saves to improve to 10-1-2 on the season.

Marleau's goal was his 34th of the season, which ties a career high he set during the 2005-06 season.

Tonight's test marks the end of a four-game road trip for the Sharks, who are 16-7-6 as the road club this year. Next up for San Jose is a two-game homestand that begins with Tuesday's meeting with Dallas.

San Jose has won four of five and five of the last seven meetings with the Canadiens and recorded a 6-4 home win in the only meeting between the clubs last season. The Sharks have dropped two of their last three contests in Montreal, including a 6-2 setback the last time the clubs met in Quebec on January 14, 2006.
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