End of the road | Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 1:25 AM

SAN JOSE -- Tommy Wingels scored two goals and goaltender Antti Niemi made 27 saves for his second shutout of the season against the Montreal Canadiens as the San Jose Sharks rolled to a 4-0 victory Saturday night at SAP Center.

The Sharks (41-17-7), coming off a come-from-behind 5-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, continued gaining ground on the first-place Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division. With 89 points, the Sharks are four behind Anaheim and 11 ahead of the third-place Los Angeles Kings.

This is the closest the Sharks have been to first place in the Pacific since Dec. 14, when they trailed Anaheim by three points and the Kings by two.

Matt Nieto and Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks.

Niemi, who has three shutouts this season, stopped all 22 shots he faced on Oct. 26 when the Sharks beat the Canadiens 2-0 at Bell Centre.

Montreal backup goaltender Peter Budaj started in place of injured Carey Price (lower body), but he was replaced by Dustin Tokarski at 1:54 of the second period after the Sharks scored twice on their first 11 shots.

The Canadiens (35-24-7) lost their second straight game and finished a four-game trip through Arizona and California with a 1-3-0 record. They trail the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins by 10 points and lead the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs by one.

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead at 2:26 of a ragged first period when Wingels scored a shorthanded goal that Budaj gift-wrapped.

Couture fired a shot from mid-ice that Budaj appeared to cover. But as the goaltender stood up, the puck squirted loose and a hard-charging Wingels poked it past him. The goal was Wingels' 13th of the season and the Sharks' fourth shorthanded score in their past 10 games.

Couture earned his 100th career assist.

Montreal outshot San Jose 9-7 in the first period but couldn't get the puck past Niemi. The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Canadiens went 0-for-2.

Wingels scored again 1:54 into the second period. Positioned firmly in front of the crease, Wingels redirected Matt Irwin's long slap shot past Budaj. With two goals, Wingels matched his career high, set Nov. 21 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tokarski, who made 39 saves in Montreal's 4-3 shootout win in Anaheim on Wednesday, replaced Budaj -- but Nieto welcomed him with a goal at 7:43. Patrick Marleau pushed the puck to the low circle and sent a pass backward to a wide-open Nieto in the slot. He ripped the puck past Murray and Budaj to give San Jose a 3-0 lead.

Earlier in the period Sharks forward Raffi Torres knocked Montreal's Lars Eller hard into the boards with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi quickly retaliated, trading blows with Torres in a short fight. Tinordi received two minutes for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct. Torres received two minutes for boarding and five for fighting.

The game remained chippy and penalty-filled for the rest of the night.

Couture made it 4-0 just 43 seconds into the third period, scoring his 18th goal of the season. After a Montreal turnover, Couture took a pass from Nieto in the low slot and lifted the puck over Tokarski's glove.

Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray faced his former team for the first time since San Jose traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins last March. He was on the ice when the puck dropped and needed just nine seconds to record his first hit, drilling Nieto.

Midway through the period Murray's image appeared on the video board above center ice, and he received a loud ovation from Sharks fans.

The Sharks went 0-for-6 on the power and are in a 2-for-48 slump with the man advantage.

Canadiens center Daniel Briere played his 900th career game.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
02:26SJS SHG - Tommy Wingels (13) ASST: Logan Couture (22) 1 - 0 SJS
2nd Period
01:54SJS Tommy Wingels (14) ASST: Matt Irwin (16), Raffi Torres (2) 2 - 0 SJS
07:43SJS Matt Nieto (8) ASST: Patrick Marleau (31), Logan Couture (23) 3 - 0 SJS
3rd Period
00:43SJS Logan Couture (18) ASST: Matt Nieto (10) 4 - 0 SJS
Three Stars of the Game
Tommy Wingels
Tommy Wingels
G: 2Shots: 8
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 16:21
Logan Couture
Logan Couture
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 17:33
Antti Niemi
Antti Niemi
SA: 27TOI: 60:00
GA: 0EV: 19-19
PIM: 0PP: 4-4
SV%: 1.000SH: 4-4
Penalty Summary
1st Period
01:42SJS James Sheppard  Tripping against  Rene Bourque
05:18MTL Jarred Tinordi  Holding against  Matt Nieto
06:51MTL Brian Gionta  Tripping against  Raffi Torres
12:50SJS Brent Burns  Tripping against  Brendan Gallagher
16:45MTL Alexei Emelin  Interference against  Andrew Desjardins
2nd Period
04:19MTL Jarred Tinordi  Misconduct (10 min) against  Raffi Torres
04:19MTL Jarred Tinordi  Fighting (maj) against  Raffi Torres
04:19SJS Raffi Torres  Fighting (maj) against  Jarred Tinordi
04:19MTL Jarred Tinordi  Instigator against  Raffi Torres
04:19SJS Raffi Torres  Boarding against  Lars Eller
17:59SJS James Sheppard  Holding against  P.K. Subban
3rd Period
03:59MTL Travis Moen  Slashing against  Raffi Torres
12:40SJS Marc-Edouard Vlasic  Misconduct (10 min) against  Lars Eller
12:40SJS Marc-Edouard Vlasic  Roughing against  Lars Eller
12:40MTL Lars Eller  Misconduct (10 min) against  Marc-Edouard Vlasic
12:40MTL Lars Eller  Roughing against  Marc-Edouard Vlasic
12:59SJS Patrick Marleau  Holding against  Alexei Emelin
14:18MTL Max Pacioretty  Interference against  Logan Couture
16:35MTL Alex Galchenyuk  Too many men/ice - bench
17:24MTL Ryan White  Misconduct (10 min)
17:24MTL Brian Gionta  Cross checking against  Matt Irwin
17:24SJS Matt Irwin  Misconduct (10 min)
17:24SJS James Sheppard  Roughing against  Brian Gionta
17:24SJS James Sheppard  Tripping against  Brian Gionta
19:36MTL Brendan Gallagher  Misconduct (10 min) against  Scott Hannan
19:36SJS Scott Hannan  Misconduct (10 min) against  Brendan Gallagher
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/50/6
Faceoff Wins2935
Blocked Shots1214
Penalty Minutes6351
6D. MurrayD00-10017:33
11B. GallagherR00-351014:00
14T. PlekanecC0002019:05
17R. BourqueR0001011:22
20T. VanekL0003017:54
21B. GiontaR00-10415:34
24J. TinordiD00-111914:34
27A. GalchenyukC00-12013:50
32T. MoenL0003210:28
43M. WeaverD00-10018:21
48D. BriereC0001010:50
51D. DesharnaisC00-32016:46
53R. WhiteC0000108:47
67M. PaciorettyL00-32216:06
74A. EmelinD00-11222:23
76P. SubbanD00-23022:50
79A. MarkovD00-21024:38
81L. EllerC00-101212:59
30P. Budaj911.81821:54
35D. Tokarski2022.90938:06
5J. DemersD0023020:34
8J. PavelskiC0001017:01
10A. DesjardinsL0003012:37
12P. MarleauL0121218:19
13R. TorresL0111710:28
15J. SheppardC0012812:32
19J. ThorntonC0001017:05
22D. BoyleD0020017:15
27S. HannanD00121021:40
37A. BurishR0001012:01
39L. CoutureC1234017:33
44M. VlasicD00101216:06
52M. IrwinD01221017:21
57T. WingelsC2028016:21
61J. BraunD0001023:26
81T. KennedyC0001010:04
83M. NietoL1121013:32
88B. BurnsD0001216:05
31A. Niemi27271.00060:00