After their historic road trip, the Sharks made some changes to the lineup as they returned home to face the Chicago Blackhawks from SAP Center in San Jose. Dainius Zubrus made his season debut in teal. But the bigger change came on defense. Justin Braun was out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury and is listed day-to-day. This created the amazingly named Dill Pickles pairing, but left a lot to be desired on the third pair of Matt Tennyson and Mirco Mueller.
Tennyson in particular seemed to struggle, with a couple early turnovers in the first period. The Blackhawks controlled the first half of the period, taking advantage of these mistakes and others by the Sharks, whose timing seemed off. Chicago took the lead on a Brent Seabrook blast, set up by a nice stop up move by Patrick Kane to create some space. The puck slid just by a diving Joel Ward and Martin Jones may have been partially screened.
The Sharks answered back to tie the game shortly after. Joonas Donskoi drew a tripping penalty and then set up a good chance on the second power play unit. The First unit built on that, and Brent Burns buried a one-timer from just outside the hashmarks. Joe Pavelski set the play up, with Patrick Marleau picking up the secondary assist. The Sharks are officially off the schneid- netting their first power play goal at home this season.
The Blackhawks quickly responded - which they seemed to do all game - with a Jonathan Toews goal on the rush with 3:36 left in the first period to make it a 2-1 Chicago lead. Shots and attempts were roughly two-to-one in Chicacgo's favor as well in the period.
The Sharks picked up the pace a bit in the second period, with a few very strong chances, including a Mike Brown breakaway he couldn't quite put on net. Mometum seemed to change when Brent Burns was charged a tripping penalty midway through the second. It appeared he may have gotten the puck first, but the slide took out Marko Dano so blatanty, the ref made the call anyway. Just after the penalty ended, a Duncan Keith shot snuck in from the half-boards to make it 3-1. Marc-Edouard Vlasic may have just barely screened Jones at the wrong time.
In the third period, the Sharks cut the deficit in half with a beautiful goal from Patrick Marleau. Brent Burns handed it off up top for Marleau who cut into the slot, waited out the defending Blackhawks and slipped a quick wrister by Corey Crawford with 8:20 to go in the game.
Just like before, the Hawks quickly responded. A Tanner Kero shot was stopped by Jones, but the rebound dropped right in front of him. Mirco Mueller couldn't clear it out or tie up former Shark Andrew Desjardins, who forced the rebound past Jones to make it 4-2. An empty netter with under a minute to go would ice the game for the Hawks. Your final score: 5-2 Chicago.
Sharks goals (assists): Brent Burns (Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau), Patrick Marleau (Brent Burns, Joel Ward)
Fear the Fin's Three Stars
1) Jonathan Toews
2) Patrick Kane
3) Brent Burns