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Early mistakes cost Sharks
Chicago takes 3 of 4 from San Jose in season series
1/28/10 - By Mike Lee -

The contest was billed as the “game of the year” but a shaky opening period almost turned it into a laugher. After surrendering three 1st period goals to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Sharks chipped away at Cristobal Huet and made a game of it by taking things to overtime. San Jose came a hair from stealing two points in the extra session, but a Troy Brouwer goal gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 win at HP Pavilion on Thursday night.

The opening eight minutes looked reminiscent of the Sharks debacle back on November 25th, when San Jose surrendered seven goals, including a franchise record three short-handed goals. Simply put, the Sharks looked bad in that opening period and it would contribute to the overall outcome of the game.

San Jose had an early power play after Ben Eager took a charging penalty at 2:36, but the Sharks couldn’t muster much pressure on Blackhawks goaltender Cristobal Huet. Chicago on the other hand used it as a warm up. They would unleash a lightning strike that once again left the Sharks reeling at home.

Dustin Byfuglien gave Chicago a 1-0 lead at 5:02 on a shot from the slot that beat Evgeni Nabokov. Patrick Kane took a Brian Campbell feed up the right wing boards before slamming the breaks and sliding the one time chance to Byfuglien.

Toews hit the post on the next shift, but that was the one shot that didn’t end up in the net. Troy Brower would make it 2-0 just 48 seconds after Byfuglien’s goal, snapping a wrist shot from the left dot, beating Nabokov on the short side.

Things went from bad to worse less than three minutes later when Andrew Ladd tapped home a Patrick Sharp feed from the top of the Sharks crease, even though Rob Blake was standing between him and the goal. Blake failed to pick up the puck, allowing Lad to tap the pass from the right side past Nabokov.

It looked as if the Blackhawks would pad their lead when Douglas Murray took an interference penalty at 9:35, but the Sharks killed the penalty, then struck shortly after Murray was allowed to leave the box.

San Jose scored when Joe Pavelski parked in front of Huet, and tapped a Marc-Edouard Vlasic feed from the left side past the Chicago netminder. Pavelski beat two Chicago defenders to the spot in front of Huet and was untouched as tapped in his 13th goal of the season.

The 2nd period was a back and forth exchange of tepid scoring chances for each team, but the Sharks cleaned up their defensive positioning, which led to more offensive chances. The Sharks would outshoot Chicago 19-10 in the period.

An interference penalty to Brent Seabrook with 3:20 left in the period put the Sharks on the power play for the third time.

Pavelski would cut the Chicago lead to 3-2 with his second goal of the night on a simple shot from the blueline that deflected off of Blackhawks forward Marion Hossa then bounced just inside the left post. Huet appeared to be screened by defenseman Brent Sopel, and was late to react to the shot.

Down by a goal entering the 3rd period, the Sharks went to work early, peppering Huet with a flurry of shots. The long climb back from that early three goal deficit finally paid off when Manny Malhotra deflected a blast by Blake into the Blackhawks net. Perched in the slot, Malhotra had his back to the net, but had a clear look at Blake’s shot from the right point.

Chicago would try to counter with up-tempo play in the Sharks zone midway through the period, showing why they’ve been so successful this season. They cycled the puck in the Sharks zone for an eternity, but San Jose weathered the storm.

Marleau and Heatley had a two-on-one break with just over 8 minutes left in the period, but Seabrook made a nice play to cut off a shot attempt by Marleau.

Joe Thornton took a delay of game penalty after he gathered the puck into his body with his hand. Chicago had 1:27 to finish things off with the ma advantage, but the Sharks would hold off the Blackhawks.

The remaining 33 seconds of the penalty carried over into the overtime, which allowed Chicago to skate with a 4-on-3 advantage. The Sharks were really put in a precarious position when Malhotra broke his stick to start the extra session, but Nabokov was able to get a stoppage by pouncing on a shot by Hossa.

Blake just missed hooking up with Thornton on a play in front of the Chicago net, bu the puck hoped over Thornton ’s stick. That would be as close as San Jose would get as Brouwer raced up the ice and snapped a shot past Nabokov after defenseman Jason Demers fell down on the play.

Game Notes:

Heatley’s assist on Pavelski’s second goal was his 600th career point. Vlasic was dinged up in the 2nd period and had to leave the game. He did not return.


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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
CHI 3 0 0 1 4
SJ 1 1 1 0 3
1st period - 1, CHI, Byfuglien 14 (Kane, Campbell), 5:02. 2, CHI, Brower 16 (Toews, Keith), 5:50. 3, CHI, Ladd 10 (Sharp, Hossa), 8:23. 4, SJ, Pavelski 13 (Vlasic, Marleau), 11:52.
2nd period - 5, SJ, Pavelski 14 (Demers, Heatley), 17:40, (pp).
3rd period - 6, SJ, Malhotra 6 (Blake, Setoguchi), 4:56.
Overtime - 7, CHI, Brouwer 17 (Hjalmarsson), 1:37.
Penalties
1st period - Eager, CHI (charging), 2:36; Murray, SJ (interference), 9:35; Keith, CHI (interference), 17:36.
2nd period - Seabrook, CHI (interference),16:40.
3rd period - Thornton , SJ (delay of game), 18:33.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
CHI - Huet 37 34
SJ - Nabokov 39 35
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
CHI 9 10 18 2 39
SJ 7 19 11 0 37
Power Play Conversion
CHI 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Troy Brouwer
Manny Malhotra
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: O'Halloran, Walsh. Linesmen: Nansen, Sericolo.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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