After patiently biding their time during regulation and overtime,
the Sharks took the Blackhawks to the shootout and came away with a
3-2 win Sunday at the United Center, Chicago's fourth extra-period
loss in its last eight games (the other four decisions have been
Centers Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski converted both shootout
attempts for San Jose (27-10-6), which had lost two of its previous
three games. However, the Sharks are now 6-2-0 in their past eight
"It was the best defensive effort we've had in this building in a
while," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We talked a lot about it
before the game. When you feed their transition, which is their
biggest strength, you get yourselves in a lot of trouble.
"It's hard to play perfect, but we were pretty solid in our zone,
goaltender (Alex Stalock) gave us a chance and everybody
contributed. Really good road game. Proud of the group we have."
Both center Jonathan Toews and left winger Patrick Sharp failed in
their shootout attempts for the Blackhawks (29-7-9).
"We didn't really start the way we wanted to," Blackhawks forward
Kris Versteeg said. "We came out in the third and really played our
game. I thought we worked hard. Could've drawn maybe a couple more
penalties, but that was the way the game went and we just had to
fight through it."
San Jose avenged a 5-1 loss in the first meeting between the two
teams on Nov. 17 in Chicago. The Sharks are now 20-9-0-4 in their
past 33 meetings with Chicago.
"We were just a little bit more competitive," Sharks center Joe
Thornton said. "You have to be competitive against these guys.
That's all it was. We didn't show how good we were last game and we
just wanted to show them how good we are and I think we did a good
Defenseman Jason Demers put the Sharks on the board first at 10:12
of the first period, snaking the puck past Chicago goalie Corey
Crawford. It was Demers' third goal of the season.
"They went up 1-0 and we've lost a few in a row here and I think it
could be a little bit uncomfortable or lack of confidence, but we
have to work our way through it," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville
said. "Hey, we've left a lot of points on the board here this year.
We could have put ourselves in a better spot than where we're at,
but it's been a sore spot recently."
[to top of second column]
Crawford was making his second appearance in the Blackhawks
lineup — and his first on United Center home ice — since being
sidelined for nearly a month with a lower-body injury. Much as
he did in Thursday's loss at the New York Islanders, Crawford
looked a bit rusty.
After a scoreless second period, Chicago defenseman Niklas
Hjalmarsson tied the score at 1:27 of the third period with his
fourth goal of the season.
Defenseman Michal Rozsival's first goal of the season, a blazing
slap shot from just inside the blue line at 4:01 of the third
period, put the Blackhawks ahead 2-1.
Rozsival's tally literally had eyes, as it not only went right
through the legs of Couture, but it also snuck through about a
three-inch opening between the left post and Stalock's left leg.
San Jose tied the game just over seven minutes after Rozsival's
goal on right winger Brent Burns' 14th goal of the season.
"They checked well, they were patient in the game tonight, they
got the lead and they were sitting back and getting things out
of their end," Quenneville said. "They were inside and we were
on the outside for most of the game. They played a good game."
Stalock stopped 33 of Chicago's 35 shots prior to the shootout,
while Crawford recorded a pair of season highs by stopping 40 of
San Jose's 42 shots.
NOTES: Even with the loss, Chicago still leads the NHL in
overall points with 67. ... Despite dire predictions of
below-zero temperatures and wind chills expected to reach as low
as minus-50, attendance was 21,599, Chicago's 250th consecutive
sellout, an NHL record. The Blackhawks are averaging 21,519 fans
over their first 23 home games. ... The Blackhawks are in the
midst of a run that will see them play six of seven games at
home. On the flip side, after a home game Jan. 26 vs. the
Winnipeg Jets, Chicago doesn't return to the United Center until
March 1 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins. A seven-game West Coast
road trip will be wrapped around the NHL's Winter Olympics
break. ... The Sharks play the Predators on Tuesday in Nashville
before returning to San Jose, where they will play 10 of their
next 15 games. ... Several media members who cover the Sharks
were unable to make it into Chicago from Denver due to weather
issues and canceled flights. Reporters do not travel with the
team on its private charter.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.