Montreal Canadiens vs. San Jose Sharks Pick & Prediction JANUARY 11th 2024

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Mired in a 12-game losing streak, the San Jose Sharks will try to finally get back in the win column when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Sharks began the season with an 11-game winless drought (0-10-1) before going 9-7-2 over their next 18 contests. They followed that up with 12 straight regulation losses.

A San Jose defeat on Thursday would mark just the 17th time in NHL history that a team has lost 13 or more consecutive games in a season.

The Sharks’ most recent setback was a 7-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. It was the fifth time this season the Sharks have allowed seven or more goals in a game.

Coach David Quinn described Tuesday’s rout as “arguably our worst game of the year from start of finish.” He added that he wasn’t impressed with the “effort and our compete” from the Sharks in either of their past two games.

“It wears on you, day and night, 24/7. … It’s hard,” Quinn said. “It takes a special mindset to get out of what we’re in, and we’re going to get out of it. Hopefully it happens in Montreal.”

The Sharks have totaled an NHL-low seven points on the road. Then again, the Canadiens also haven’t been impressive on home ice. Only four teams have fewer points at home than Montreal (18).

While the Sharks are desperate to win, the Canadiens recently have been grinding out results while not playing their best hockey. Montreal is 2-1-1 in its past four games despite being outshot by a whopping 158-81 margin.

Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers saw Montreal take a 2-0 lead midway through the first period on goals from Sean Monahan and David Savard.

Despite the blown two-goal lead, leaving Philadelphia with a point might have been a fortunate outcome for the Canadiens given the game’s lopsided nature. The Flyers held a 39-19 advantage in shots.

“Sometimes you’ve got to find ways to win,” Montreal forward Josh Anderson said. “Not every night you’re going to have your legs there. … But we weren’t ready to go right from the start and the puck drop, and that’s on us.”

Since Cayden Primeau started against the Flyers, Sam Montembeault or Jake Allen likely will be in net against San Jose. Montembeault has been the hotter goalie with wins in his past two games, including a 45-save performance in Montreal’s 4-3 shootout victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Mackenzie Blackwood likely will start in net for San Jose after stopping 23 of 26 shots in a relief outing against Toronto. Kaapo Kahkonen allowed four goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Blackwood early in the second period.

Captain Nick Suzuki leads all Canadiens skaters in goals (12), assists (22) and points (34). Tomas Hertl leads the Sharks in goals (13) and points (28).

Montreal is 1-6-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

The Canadiens posted a 3-2 win in a shootout in San Jose on Nov. 24.

–Field Level Media

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