After two periods of acceptable, but not terribly exciting hockey, the Sharks found their fun gear in the final 20 minutes to beat the Blackhawks, 5-2. Also, Joe Thornton played in his 1,550th NHL game. I’ve never counted to that number in my life. He’s going to easily pass Jarome Iginla in all time games played by the end of the month.
The Sharks scored the first goal of the game and would’ve had a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period if not for that meddling Dylan Strome. The Sharks thwarted an earlier two-on-one from the Blackhawks’ top line, but couldn’t solve Strome and Alex DeBrincat.
Both teams scored in the second period, leaving the game tied again after 40 minutes. Ideally, the Sharks would have been up on a team not in a playoff spot 2⁄3 of the way through the game.
The Sharks scored three goals in the second period to make the win look more convincing than it was. Marcus Sorensen slid into the slot to bury a wrist shot, then Melker Karlsson scored twice (including an empty-netter) to seal the win.
All the goal scorers for the Sharks were European players, cool beans. New Shark Gustav Nyquist also came really close to scoring his first goal in teal!
Three Sharks tied for game-high points: Melker Karlsson with his two goals, and Joonas Donskoi and Michael Haley who both recorded two assists. Those are bottom-six players, friends! We believe that is called “depth scoring.”
The Sharks have three days off before their next game, when they host the Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 p.m. Pacific on Thursday.
Congratulations to Joe Thornton for 1,550 NHL games!
20:00: It turns out Chris Kunitz is on the top line, at least to start the game. That’s quite a jump.
16:32: Melker Karlsson opting to stall and pass instead of shooting on a semi-breakaway is ... just exemplifying why he’s not our favorite Karlsson in San Jose.
12:35: Wait, was that the first shot on goal for either team? Um. Interesting.
11:44: Joonas Donskoi tries to push to the net against three Blackhawks players and ends up taking a penalty for tripping.
7:44: Tomas Hertl gets a pass at the blueline and takes it to the back of the net! The Blackhawks were attempting to change, leaving Duncan Keith as last guy back. Hertl wins that race every time. It’s 1-0 Sharks.
1:30: Kunitz is no longer a top-liner. I could have told you that ... several years ago.
0:27.1: A neutral zone turnover and lack of commitment from Brent Burns leads to a Dylan Strome goal. 1-1.
END FIRST: Sharks 1, Blackhawks 1
Well, I was going to say that the Sharks were only up due to some fortunate bounces: first when Marc-Edouard Vlasic blocked Patrick Kane’s power play shot, and later when the Blackhawks’ top line couldn’t finish a two-on-one. Then Dylan Strome made up for it; Brent Burns looked really passive in trying to defend the rush. He seemed to think about checking Strome, then decided not to. Considerate of him to keep his flu germs away, I guess?
But tied is better than being down.
18:22: When’s Timo Time? 8:04 p.m. Pacific (or 11:04 p.m. Eastern), apparently.
16:02: Chris Kunitz is back on the top line. That’s a decision.
13:20: Nobody covered Erik Gustafsson. Tied game.
7:32: The most noticeable Shark defenseman this game has been Brenden Dillon. He’s made a couple key steps to challenge some of the Blackhawks’ most potent forwards. In other words: he hit good.
2:23: Tomas Hertl takes an offensive zone penalty trying to dig the puck off the boards. High-sticking against Connor Murphy. There have been two penalties this game and both have gone against the Sharks.
END SECOND: Sharks 2, Blackhawks 2
Is it just me, or did more things almost-happen than actually happen this period? Gustav Nyquist had a couple chances to get his first point with the Sharks, a few Sharks two-on-one tries didn’t work out, and I definitely heard the puck hit the post at least once.
The Sharks killed the late-period power play, but Dillon didn’t look great — and I know I said “he hit good” earlier. I’d like to amend that: he hit good when he’s close to his mark. If a player gets a step on him, he looks slow.
Being tied is better than being down, but being up would be better. Especially against a team struggling to make the playoffs on the second night of a back-to-back.
17:22: Not a fan of how much time the Blackhawks have spent in the Sharks’ end to start the period.
15:33: Marcus Sorensen jumps onto the ice on a line change and buries a pass from Joe Thornton. 3-2, Sharks!
14:54: The Sharks go to their first power play of the game. A great chance to bite down hard here.
12:54: Nothing came from the power play. A lot more hockey to play.
11:44: The Sharks were going to get another power play, but Brent Burns just jumped on the ice during the delayed penalty and sent a shot on net. Melker Karlsson tipped it, his 10th this year. 4-2, Sharks.
3:02: The Blackhawks have pulled Cam Ward.
2:22: A double delivery from the Melkman! 5-2 now.
1:26: Connor Murphy gets hit with a high stick again. He was very enthusiastic to show the ref his blood, but the penalty is only two minutes, not that it matters.
1:25: The Hawks pulled Cam Ward again. May as well I guess.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 5, Blackhawks 2
The San Jose Sharks can keep climbing toward first in the Pacific Division with a win tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks are currently five points behind the Calgary Flames, who do not play tonight.
The Sharks are 25-8-3 against Western Conference opponents this season, having earned the 25th win in their last game, a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Marcus Sorensen recorded his first NHL multi-goal game and Joe Pavelski scored his 36th goal.
The Blackhawks played last night, losing 6-3 to the Los Angeles Kings, and are 4-5-0 in their last nine games. Corey Crawford played the last two games in net for the ‘Hawks and allowed nine total goals. Backup Cam Ward is expected to start tonight.
Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson are still out with injuries, while Brent Burns took the morning skate off with the flu. He’s expected to be well enough to suit up for his 455th consecutive game, though, which is huge for the Sharks. Burns is their leading scorer with 71 points (he also is the highest-scoring defender in the league).
Speaking of points, the Blackhawks’ leader is Patrick Kane, with 40 goals and 54 assists for 94 points. The Blackhawks have two other players with over 60 points: Jonathan Toews (29-37-66) and Alex DeBrincat (36-28-64). No other Blackhawks player has more than 50 points this season.
Injured: Erik Karlsson (groin), Evander Kane (undisclosed)
Scratched: Joakim Ryan, Lukas Radil
Blackhawks (via Second City Hockey):
Brandon Saad — Jonathan Toews — Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat — Dylan Strome — Dominik Kahun
Brendan Perlini — Artem Anisimov — Dylan Sikura
Chris Kunitz — Marcus Kruger — John Hayden
Duncan Keith — Brent Seabrook
Connor Murphy — Carl Dahlstrom
Gustav Forsling — Erik Gustafsson
Injured: Drake Caggiula (concussion), David Kampf (foot)
Scratched: Slater Koekkoek
Two of the three Blackhawks leading scorers are on the top line.
Where to Watch
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Pacific at SAP Center. You can catch the game on TV on NBCS California or NBCS Chicago, or stream it with NHL.tv. Radio listeners can use the Sharks App to catch the 98.5 KFOX broadcast.