#1 asons, has just two in 30 games this ye von riluowanying123 29.10.2019 09:04

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens might find themselves among the NHLs top teams but they know theres still plenty of room for improvement when they host the San Jose Sharks on Friday.Chief among them: the power play.After getting off to a hot start, converting at least once in 13 of the teams first 20 games, its cooled off considerably in the past nine games, connecting just four times on 29 opportunities. The loss of center Alex Galchenyuk hasnt helped matters; Montreal (19-6-4) is 1-for-15 with the man advantage in his absence.That prompted some changes to the power play units at practice on Thursday. Defenseman Jeff Petry joined Shea Weber on the blue line on the first wave -- along with Alexander Radulov, Andrew Shaw and Max Pacioretty up front -- while Andrei Markov moved to the second unit alongside Nathan Beaulieu, with forwards Paul Byron, Brendan Gallagher and Artturi Lehkonen.Were trying to find solutions to get into a better rhythm on the power play, coach Michel Therrien said. It doesnt mean well keep it (against the San Jose Sharks), but we wanted to take advantage of practice time to work on certain things.We want to give ourselves options for when teams focus a lot of attention on Weber, he added. We think that Petry can also use his one-timer.Webers famous blast from the point has been tamed of late. While hes taken shots, they havent been getting through at anywhere near the same rate as they had earlier on. On a personal note, hes managed just one assist in his last nine games.But while the puck hasnt been going in for him, its been the opposite for Byron. The 27-year-old scored his 10th goal of the season -- in his 29th game -- on Monday night, one off his career high set last year in 62 games. Hes also four points shy of a career-best 21 points recorded in 2013-14 with the Calgary Flames.Byrons addition to the power-play group will be his first regular appearance of the season with the man advantage, averaging a mere seven seconds before Friday nights tilt.If everything is going well right now, its just because I worked really hard, he said. But, its also because of my teammates. I play with very good players who help me a lot. Good things come with work.Things are going well, for the most part, for the Sharks (18-11-1), who are riding a three-game winning streak into Fridays contest -- including wins on back-to-back nights in which they trailed before emerging victorious in a shootout.But Wednesdays win against the Ottawa Senators wasnt all sunshine and roses. Center Logan Couture, who ranks second on the team with 11 goals and third with 20 points, left the game midway through the third period after taking a cross-check to the back of his helmet from Senators winger Mike Hoffman.The Sharks called up top prospect Timo Meier from the AHLs San Jose Barracuda on Thursday and its possible the ninth overall pick from the 2015 draft makes his NHL debut against Montreal. Meier leads the Barracuda with nine goals in 17 games and is third on the club with 15 points.He approaches everything and does everything hard, Barracuda coach Roy Sommer told the Mercury News. Practices hard, hes hard on himself. He plays the game hard. When you go in the corner with him, you know youve gone in the corner with him.The Sharks offense will welcome whatever jolt the 20-year-old can provide a team that is averaging just 2.43 goals per game this season. Defenseman Brent Burns leads the club with 13 goals and 28 points while captain Joe Pavelski ranks third in goals with 10.Depth scoring has been hard to come by, however. San Jose is missing Tomas Hertl, who is out with an injury. Joel Ward, who scored 64 goals combined over the past three seasons, has just two in 30 games this year. Same goes for free agent acquisition Mikkel Boedker, who has also recorded just three assists on the season.But while its been a struggle for Boedker, coach Pete DeBoer likes what hes seen lately from the 26-year-old.The offense is going to come, said DeBoer, who coached him in junior hockey. But, when he starts stringing together some games like youve seen here lately, thats the player that I know, I think were just scratching the surface of what he can do. Louisville is having a season of firsts on the football field. Saturdays 63-20 rout of then-No. 2 Florida State was the first time the Cardinals have defeated a team ranked No. 1 or 2 in the AP poll.The Cardinals, now ranked No. 3, can add Sports Illustrated cover to their list of firsts this season:The chances of Louisvillle suffering a Sports Illustrated curse next week are slim.dddddddddddd The Cards travel to Marshall with a 96.6 percent chance to win, according to ESPNs Football Power Index.?- John Wilmhoff ' ' '

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