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Blackhawks score 3 short-handed goals in ambush
11/25/09 - By Mike Lee -

Leading up to Wednesday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackahawks, the Sharks had not lost in regulation on home ice. They forfeited that claim in grand fashion, by surrendering a franchise record three short-handed goals in a 7-2 laugher at HP Pavilion. Chicago thoroughly dominated a Sharks roster that seemed more intent on getting to Thanksgiving dinner, than playing a hockey game. Marion Hossa made his Blackhawks debut by scoring a pair of goals, including one of two short-handers that came on the same Sharks power play.

The Sharks had their work cut out of themselves early, as Chicago came out firing on all cylinders. The difference in skating was evident from the opening faceoff, but San Jose somehow kept things close. A turnover by Joe Pavelski in front of his own net at the 6:30 mark was the first hint that this was going to be a long night. Evgeni Nabokov defended the ensuing Blackhawk scoring chance, but the storm was brewing.

“When you’re not prepared to play and you’re not alert, not sharp, those things can happen, especially when you’re playing against perhaps the top team in the National Hockey League,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. “You give up three shorties in one night, you’re not winning.”

A Brent Seabrook holding penalty with 3:09 remaining in the 1st period gave the Sharks a chance to shift the momentum, but it turned out to be exactly the opposite. With the power play trying to enter the Blackhawks zone, a weak dump-in dribbled to Duncan Keith, who fired a clearing pass to Troy Brouwer who was countering past two Sharks defenders. Brouwer skated up the right side and ripped a shot that buzzed over Nabokov’s left shoulder for the 1-0 lead.

Brouwer would open the 2nd period with a boarding penalty that turned into a Sharks nightmare. Hossa bagged the Hawks 2nd shortie of eh night after stepping in front of a Keny Huskins shot attempt, chipping the puck to Jonathan Toews. With his momentum carrying him back toward center ice, Hossa took a return feed from Toews and was off to the races.

Patrick Sharp would convert on the same Sharks power play, 28-seconds later, after a turnover in the San Jose zone turned into a breakaway with some assistance from the hockey gremlins. Sharks rookie defenseman Jason Demers had a chance to cutoff Sharp as they skated at center-ice, but Demers tripped on the Sharks logo, allowing Sharp to skate in on Nabokov unimpeded. The Chicago assistant captain put a backhand fake on the Sharks netminder, before pulling the puck back to his forehand and easily depositing his 7th goal of the season.

“ The penalty kill got everything going for us when you have top guys on breakaways,” said Chicago head coach Joel Quenville. “Hossa will be a shootout guy for us, and it was a good start to his Blackhawk career.”

Shoddy defense in front of Nabokov would cost the Sharks at 10:38 of the period. Cam Barker sent a shot in on net from the blueline, but Nabokov gave up a short rebound. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic inexplicably turned away from Dustin Byfuglien as the two converged on the crease, allowing the Blackhawks forward to grab the deflection and easily deposit it around Nabokov.

Barker would take an interference penalty late in the period, and this time the Sharks power play unit succeeded in keeping the puck out of their own net. It would be one of the few Shark victories throughout the evening.

Chicago would outshoot San Jose 21-6 in the period. They would finish the game with 41 shots total.

McLellan decided that his defense had subjected Nabokov to enough abuse, electing to start the 3rd period with Thomas Greiss in net. That move only shifted the abuse to Greiss.

“What do you do with Nabby after three short-handed goals, two of them were basically breakaways,” said McLellan. “I didn’t think Nabby was the issue one bit. Going into the third period we wanted to give Thomas some playing time and obviously he wasn’t the answer either.”

Seabrook would tip in a Keith shot 5:19 into the final period to make it 5-0, but the Blackhawks weren’t done.

Hossa converted a minute later after the Sharks got caught standing still in their own zone. Patrick Kane started the scoring sequence by sending a pass to Brent Sopel on the right side. Sopel one-timed a return feed to the bottom of the left circle to Hossa, who deposited the puck into a wide open net. Manny Malhotra missed his defensive assignment, leaving Hossa wide open for the tap-in.

Keith redirected a Seabrook pass at center ice, springing John Madden at 11:38. The former New Jersey Devils forward raced up the right side and lifted his 5th goal of the season over Greiss’ right shoulder, tacking on the extra-point for the 7-0 lead.

Barker and Sopel would take penalties 23 seconds apart later in the period, essentially evening things up on the ice for the first time all night. San Jose would score on the 5-on-3 when Dan Boyle slapped a shot past Cristobal Huet from the left dot.

Joe Pavelski would tack on a meaningless goal from the same spot as Boyle’s goal with 2:10 to play. The five thousand or so fans that remained buzzed in anticipation of a historic comeback, but it would fall five-goals short as time expired.

“ I think we have a lot of enthusiasm on our team right now,” said Quenville. We have had a lot of good success and momentum coming in here. There was a lot at stake. We would love to close the gap between us and them.”

Game Notes:

San Jose set franchise records from most short-handed goals allowed in a game (3) and most short-handed goal allowed in a period (2).


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1 2 3 T
CHI 1 3 3 7
SJ 0 0 2 2
1st period - 1, CHI, Brouwer 7 (Keith), 17:45, (sh).
2nd period - 2, CHI, Hossa, 1 (Toews), 4:57, (sh). 3, CHI, Sharp 7 (Hjalmarsson), 5:25, (sh). 4, CHI, Byfuglien 8 (Barker, Sharp), 10:38.
3rd period - 5, CHI, Seabrook 3 (Keith, Brouwer), 5:19. 6, CHI, Hossa 2 (Sopel, Kane), 6:19. 7, CHI, Madden 5 (Keith, Seabrook), 11:38. 8, SJ, Boyle 5 (Thornton, Heatley), 16:17, (pp). 9, SJ, Pavelski 3 (Clowe, Huskins), 17:50.
1st period - Seabrook, CHI (holding), 16:51.
2nd period - Brouwer, CHI (boarding), 4:09; Clowe, SJ (elbowing), 11:43; Nichol, SJ (hooking), 15:42; Barker, CHI (interference), 18:32.
3rd period - Hjalmarsson, CHI (closing hand on puck), 1:36; Barker, CHI (hooking), 14:40; Sopel, CHI (hooking), 15:03.
Shots Saves
CHI - Huet 24 22
SJ - Nabokov 29 25
SJ - Greiss 12 9
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CHI 8 21 12 41
SJ 5 6 13 24
Power Play Conversion
CHI 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Marion Hossa
Duncan Keith
Troy Brouwer
Referees: Morton, owal. Linesmen: Sharrers, Pancich.

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