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Clowe lifts Sharks over Blackhawks
Niemi makes 28 saves in second win over former team
12/11/10 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks returned to the friendly confines of HP Pavilion on Saturday night after wrapping up their recent 5-game east coast swing. After enjoying a little home cooking, they were presented with the tall task of squaring off against a red-hot Chicago Blackhawks team in their first game on home ice since November 30th. Ryane Clowe would cool off the Blackhawks and rookie goaltender Corey Crawford with a pair of goals in a 2-1 overtime victory.

Crawford fell a game short of tying the Blackhawks franchise record for consecutive wins by a rookie with the loss. He had won his previous seven games to setup Saturday night’s shot at the Chicago record book.

That streak was snapped by Clowe and a little bad luck.

“It was one of those nights where I don’t think they were as sharp as they wanted to be, I know our team wasn’t," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "The good sign is we found our legs a little bit later in the game and found a way to win it.”

The Sharks drew first blood midway through the 1st period, when Clowe redirected a Jason Demers pass from the right corner past Crawford. Demers chased down a Marc-Edouard pass that skipped along the right wing boards. Demers sent the pass right to the slot, just as Clowe arrived for the redirect.

Chicago scored a goal late in the period when forward Jordan Hendry jammed in a goal from the right post. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi had his skate pinned against the post, but Hendry pushed it off Niemi's other skate for the deflection into the goal.

Hendry was making his first appearance in 14 games, after being a frequent scratch for the Blackhawks. The defenseman was called into action as a forward for Chicago because of a rash of injuries, including those to Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa who are both on injured reserve.

Sharks forward Benn Ferrier narrowly missed scoring as time expired in the period, but Crawford made a spectacular pad save while laying on the ice. Ferriero fired a put-back from 6-feet out that seemed destined for the back of the net, but Crawford made the save and covered it with his leg as the horn sounded.

Replays confirmed the no-goal call by referee Greg Kimmerley, but a video review was conducted to confirm the call.

San Jose was the beneficiary of a quick whistle in the 2nd period before Viktor Stalberg jammed a puck home from the doorstep. Jack Skille fired a shot at Niemi from the right side that trickled through the shark goaltender’s pads. Kimmerley lost sight of the puck, even though it emerged from Niemi’s pads rolling toward the goal line. Stalberg was there to jam the loose puck home, but it was all for not.

Logan Couture got a rise out of the home crowd a minute into the 3rd period, when he slipped past Brian Campbell in the high slot and put a shot on Crawford from in tight. Couture’s diving stab at the puck would be stopped by Crawford and the Sharks forward would end up tangled in the net after sliding into the goal. His skate actually cut the twine, which required minor repairs to close the hole.

Heatley had Crawford dead to rights 8 minutes into the period after making a nifty move to get past Brent Seabrook, but once again Crawford gobbled up the 12 foot shot.

“I thought he played great," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said of his netminder. "I think you could argue that that might have been his best game. He’s the reason we got a point. He made two or three saves that looked like they were empty netters. His anticipation was there. He was sharp and quick and big.”

Niemi countered Crawford’s play with a series of nice saves in the period. He would also stop both shots he saw in the extra period. Crawford wasn’t so lucky.

Clowe would end things with 68 seconds remaining in the overtime with a quick one-timer from the right dot. Vlasic setup the shot with a bullet pass from the left wing boards. The pass split Skille’s skates, then Clowe’s shot narrowly got past Duncan Keith’s attempt at blocking the shot. Crawford was late to cover the right post as the puck hit the back of the net.

“They are a very good matching team, our lines weren’t even the same at the end of the game as they were in the begging on the night," added McLellan. "We made a change on a whim, trying to find a combination of guys that were going”


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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
CHI 1 0 0 0 1
SJ 1 0 0 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Clowe 7 (Demers, Vlasic), 9:16. 2, CHI, Hendry 1 (Dowell, Scott), 18:23.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - 3, SJ, Clowe 8 (Vlasic, Braun), 3:52.
Penalties
1st period - Skille, CHI (high sticking), 9:57; Couture, SJ (tripping), 13:59; Cullimore, CHI (holding), 18:55.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
CHI - Crawford 30 28
SJ - Niemi 29 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
CHI 11 8 8 2 29
SJ 11 9 8 2 30
Power Play Conversion
CHI 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Ryane Clowe
Antii Niemi
Corey Crawford
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Kimmerly, Leggo. Linesmen: Shewchyk, Mach.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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