About Last Night: Ylönen goes from benched to hero vs. Sharks

Jesse Ylönen scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

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The Montreal Canadiens needed six rounds of the shootout to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on Friday afternoon at SAP Center.

Jesse Ylönen sent the Habs to their hotel rooms with a win, even though he only saw two shifts in the third and none in overtime. Cayden Primeau started in goal and made 31 saves.

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The 3-15-2 Sharks are far and away the worst team in the league this season, so the win was less a cause for celebration and more for relief.

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It was a scoreless first, one where the Canadiens dominated early but Primeau had to make 8 of his 11 saves in the opening period in the final three minutes.

Sharks made it 1-0 early in the second. It was birthday boy Mike Hoffman’s first game against the Habs since being traded away in the offseason, and he scored his fifth goal in the last five games.

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The Sharks extended their lead to 2-0 just three seconds into a power play. Tomas Hertl won the faceoff back to new addition Calen Addison, who set up William Eklund for the perfect one-timer.

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Johnathan Kovacevic has had a rough go of it lately on defence, but he made up for it on offence to get the Habs on the board, down 2-1. Some milestones from this goal: Jayden Struble got his first assist and point in the pros, and Caufield got his 100th career point. It was also the 16th goal by a Habs defenceman in the last 16 games. Kovacevic has three goals in his last four games.

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All night, linemates Juraj Slafkovsky and Caufield were setting each other up with grade-A chances. In the third, Caufield finally cashed in on one for his first goal since Nov. 9. The slump buster tied up the game 2-2. Primeau got his first point as a Hab on the goal.

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The close game was a coin flip late in the third, or perhaps a game of rock-paper-scissors?

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Overtime solved nothing, and neither did the initial three rounds of the shootout. Slafkovsky had the win on his stick and an empty net, but he couldn’t finish it off. Instead, it was Ylönen who was called upon despite not seeing much of the ice in the third. He pulled off a nice move to perhaps get back in coach Martin St. Louis’ good graces. Either way, the Habs won 3-2.

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According to Hockey Stat Cards, the Caufield-Dvorak-Slafkovsky line was dominant. Then again, the Canadiens were playing against the not-so-good San Jose Sharks. Slafkovsky was rewarded with the most ice-time of his season thus far: 19:44. He also got the aforementioned prime time slot in the shootout.

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Hockey Stat Cards went a little more in-depth on Slafkovsky, showing that he’s largely shaken off those post-Dach injury doldrums.

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The common denominator at this point seems to be Josh Anderson. Sean Monahan started off hot but has struggled ever since getting Anderson as a linemate. And what of Ylönen, who has shown offensive chops in limited duty, but can’t seem to crack a spot on one of coach St. Louis’ scoring lines? Barring injuries, is Ylönen running out of race track in Montreal? It would appear so.

The Liveblog commenters who could play afternoon hooky just didn’t want the Habs to be a laughingstock for losing to the Sharks.

3. “Evening Habs Fans, just got home. I see we are stinking it up against the worst team in the league. I guess MSL is still going with the michel therien philosophy of breaking up scoring by breaking up our few scoring pairs. Remember the EGG line? Sheesh!” -Michael Paul

2. “Nice win even though we didn’t play the strongest game. Shows character. Primeau played well. CC scored a 5 on 5 goal. D played well again. And a nice shootout victory. Next game – a goal for Andy!” -Bob Taylor

1. “Well at least Hoffman didn’t get BOTH goals.” -Carin Latzel

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