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Woes continue in Chicago
Shark's list of problems continue to grow
10/7/05 - by Mike Lee

Two games into the regular season, the Sharks find themselves with more questions now than before the start of training camp. Was the preseason a fluke? Is the defense really this bad? Will they dig themselves a bigger hole than the one they managed to survive last season? All unanswered questions, but troubling ones. After Friday night's implosion in Chicago, San Jose finds itself scrambling for answers. The first 29 seconds of the Sharks 6-3 loss to the Blackhawks provided all you needed to know about how the evening would turn out.

A lack of intensity to start the game, combined with tentativeness and another weak goal spelled disaster for the Sharks, who have quickly dug themselves into a 0-2 hole this season.

No-name Blackhawks took advantage of the Sharks absence of any team cohesion and stuck it to San Jose early and often. Jim Vandermeer started the Sharks nightmare with a wrist-shot from 50 feet out that beat Sharks goaltender Vesa Toskala in the game's first half minute. Toskala was screened on the play, but he'll see plenty more of those situation in the weeks to come given the NHL's new no-nonsense approach to the latitude defenses will be afforded in front of the net.

Untimely penalties would do in the Sharks minutes later. Scott Thornton received a double minor for cutting Jassen Cullimore with an unruly high stick. Scott Hannan would follow Thornton to the box a minute later, giving the Blackhawks a 5-on-3. Tumo Ruutu snapped hom a goal uncontested from 15 feet in front of the net. The goal was scored before Thornton's first penalty had expired, so Chicago was allowed to stay on the two-man advantage.

Chicago had the Sharks in a barrel with a loaded shotgun, and Tyler Arnason would take advantage of the slaughter by redirecting a crossing pass from Pavel Vorobiev moments later.

The shooting gallery would reopen early in the 2nd period when Jason Cullimore scored on another man advantage two minutes in. That would mercifully end Toskala's evening, but his replacement, Evgeni Nabokov, would fare no better.

San Jose finally got on the board at 5:14 of the 2nd, when Marco Sturm pounded home his first goal of the season.

Vorobiev would add insult to injury by capping the period with a goal, then scoring his second of the game just 1:33 into the final period.

The Sharks added two meaningless goals in the period, but the Blackhawk's 6-1 advantage was insurmountable, with or without the league's new offense first approach. San Jose must first address the multitude of problems the face on the penalty-kill, in the face-off circle and in the offensive zone.

Until then, San Jose will continue to struggle and the pre-season will be but a distant memory.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 2 3
CHI 3 2 1 6
1st period - 1, Chicago, Vandermeer 1 (Barnaby, Lapointe), 0:29. 2, Chicago, Ruutu 1 (Brown, Seabrook), 5:51, (pp). 3, Chicago, Arnason 1 (Vorobiev, Seabrook), 7:21, (pp).
2nd period - 4, Chicago, Cullimore 1 (Seabrook, Arnason), 1:49, (pp). 5, San Jose, Sturm 1 (Hannan, Michalek), 5:14, (pp). 6, Chicago, Vorobiev 1 (Vandermeer, Arnason), 8:45.
3rd period - 7, Chicago, Vorobiev 2 (Seabrook), 1:33. 8, San Jose, McLaren 1 (Goc, Dimitrakos), 2:01. 9, San Jose, Michalek 1 (Smith, Goc), 17:26, (pp).
1st period - Dowd, CHI (high-sticking), 2:42; Thornton, SJS, double minor (high-sticking), 4:22; Hannan, SJS (delay of game), 5:25; Bourque, CHI (hooking), 9:33; Stuart, SJS, double minor (interference, unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:40
2nd period - Cullimore, CHI (hooking), 4:18; Davison, SJS, major (fighting), 14:46; Lapointe, CHI, major (fighting), 14:46; Cullimore, CHI (hooking), 14:57; Cheechoo, SJS (hooking), 16:38; Thornton 20:00
3rd period - Ruutu, CHI (tripping), 4:22; Dowd, CHI (hooking), 6:28; Simpson, CHI (cross-checking), 7:10; Smith, SJS, major (fighting), 9:29; Barnaby, CHI, major (fighting), 9:29; Primeau, SJS, major (fighting), 9:32; Bell, CHI, major (fighting), 9:32; Clowe, SJS, major (fighting), 13:33; Vandermeer, CHI, major (fighting), 13:33; Marleau, SJS (charging), 13:59; Keith, CHI (hooking), 16:06
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala1410
SJ - Nabokov 12 10
CHI - Khabibulin2421
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 2 8 14 24
CHI 11 9 6 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 8
CHI 3 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Pavel Vorobiev
Brent Seabrook
Jim Vandermeer
Referees: Dan O'Halloran, Dan O'Rourke. Linesmen: Lyle Seitz, Mark Wheler.

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