Sharks chase Price, handing Habs rare home loss
Only Montreal's 2nd regulation defeat at Bell Centre this season (14-2-2)
Montreal Canadiens defenceman Nathan Beaulieu felt like the entire team let Carey Price down.
Price was pulled in the second period after conceding four goals on 18 shots against the San Jose Sharks in Montreal's 4-2 loss on Friday.
It was the first time Price was pulled from a game (not due to injury) since Oct. 13, 2014. As he walked to the dressing room, the Canadiens goaltender glared at the bench, presumably at head coach Michel Therrien.
"None of the goals were his fault," said Beaulieu. "Guys were just not picking up sticks around the net. Tap-ins from the crease are just unacceptable. They just can't happen.
"It wasn't Price getting pulled because Price wasn't good enough. He's the best player in the world and he's our best player. It had nothing to do with him. It was us."
The Habs, which were on three days rest after Monday's overtime loss to the Bruins, looked sloppy from the get-go.
Montreal (19-7-4) got into penalty trouble early on and it cost them. The home side took three minor penalties in the game's first eight minutes and San Jose scored on two of them.
With Paul Byron in the box for hooking, David Schlemko got the ball rolling with his first goal of the year, beating a screened Price top shelf with a wrister from the half wall.
With the Sharks on another power play two minutes later, Patrick Marleau made it 2-0 from the slot after blown coverage by Alexei Emelin.
"Good start," said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. "They've been sitting around waiting for us this week. We talked a lot about how we better be prepared for their start. Our guys really got out of the gate."
Debut to remember
Still in the first period, 20-year-old Timo Meier, making his NHL debut, added San Jose's third at 13:18.
The Sharks (19-11-1) chased Price from the game at 6:44 of the second after Melker Karlsson made it 4-0 by batting a bouncing puck into the roof of the net.
"We pulled him to send a message to the players," said Therrien. "I didn't like how they were playing in front of him. It made no sense to keep Price in there. I also had to think about tomorrow's game.
This was the first game of a back-to-back for Montreal. The team travels to Washington to face the Capitals on Saturday. Price, who is still looking for his 250th NHL win, will get the start in that game.
Losing 4-0 in the third, the Canadiens upped the pressure and made a game of it, but ultimately ran out of time. Brian Flynn ended Martin Jones' shutout bid with 9:32 remaining in the period before Jeff Petry scored his fifth of the season with 6:12 left on the clock.
Jones ended the game with 26 saves.
"They had their backs against the wall," said Joe Thornton, who got an assist on Marleau's goal. "They're a very prideful group. We knew they were going to push and that's what they did. We'll leave here with two points."
Montreal has only beaten San Jose once in the last six years (1-7-1).
Andrew Shaw was out of the lineup with concussion-like symptoms. Shaw took an elbow to the head from Boston's Torey Krug in Monday's overtime loss to the Bruins. Winger Sven Andrighetto started in his place.
Michael McCarron made his season debut for the Canadiens. He had an assist on Montreal's second goal.