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Hawks reopen old wounds
Chicago scores 5 in the 2nd to roll San Jose
3/14/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks helped themselves forget about the Western Conference Finals loss the Chicago Blackhawks handed them last spring by winning three straight against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. That all went out the window on Monday night as the Blackhawks reminded San Jose that they are still reigning champs with a five-goal period in a 6-3 pasting of the Sharks at the United Center. Marion Hossa scored a pair of power play goals in 2nd period nightmare to pace the hottest team in the NHL.

Chicago shook off the fatigue of their overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday by pounding the Sharks with a flurry of goals after San Jose had staked themselves to a 2-1 lead.

San Jose looked as if they would have their way with the Blackhawks early. The Sharks skated briskly and put together a steady attack on the Chicago net.

A boarding penalty to Fernando Pisani was followed by a hooking call against Ryan Johnson two minutes into the contest. San Jose converted on the 5-on-3 power play when Joe Pavelski pumped a shot from the left dot past Blackhawks goaltender Cory Crawford. Chicago tied the game at 12:13 when Viktor Stalberg swatted a deflection past Antti Niemi for his 11th goal of the season. San Jose failed to clear the zone, allowing a tired Blackhawks team to keep pace.

A hooking penalty to Torrey Mitchell put the Blackhawks on the power play for the second time in the period, but San Jose would hold off the league's 2nd ranked power play, then convert on a go-ahead goal right as the penalty expired. Patrick Marleau controlled the puck along the left wing boards, then slipped a pass out to Joe Thornton while he was blanketed by two Chicago defenders. Thornton skated in on goal and lifted the puck past Crawford for his 17th goal of the season.

Apparently the Blackhawks just needed an extended warm-up, because they went to work in the 2nd period and carved up the Sharks.

Marleau took a hooking penalty 2:09 into the 2nd period, setting up Chicago's next goal. San Jose's penalty killers failed to clear the puck on two occasions, allowing the Blackhawks to setup Marion Hossa's 20th goal of the season. Hossa took a diagonal pass from Patrick Sharp on the right post and slipped a shot under Niemi's pad to tie the game 2-2.

Devin Setoguchi failed to get the memo about taking dumb penalties, as he held Jonathan Toews after the Blackhawks captain skated past him. That would allow Chicago to score their second power play goal of the evening, when Hossa converted on another shot with the man-advantage.
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San Jose would fall apart after losing the lead.

Toews made it a 4-2 game 79 seconds after Hossa's second goal with a shot through Niemi's five-hole. Former Blackhawk Ben Eager tried to pinch on a play in the Chicago zone, but his miss setup a three-on-one. Niemi's shot at sweeping his former teammates would end at that point, when Sharks head coach Todd McLellan yanked his netminder in favor of Antero Niittymaki.

The wheels would completely come off with 5:31 left in the period. Niklas Hjalmarsson made it a three goal lead by scoring his 3rd goal of the season by cranking a shot through traffic. Stalberg parked himself in front of Niittymaki, blinding the Sharks replacement goaltender from seeing the low shot.

With the Blackhawks swarming, Eager took a slashing penalty after he was burned by Michael Frolik in the slot. San Jose would finally stop the Chicago power play, which provided a little light in an otherwise dark period.

Logan Couture would help brighten things up a bit more by scoring his 26th goal of the season at 17:14 on a put back shot, after Marc-Edouard Vlasic pumped a shot on Crawford from the right side. Couture crashed the net and kept his stick on the ice, allowing for the quick hands required to deposit the 5-footer.

Any idea of a comeback was quickly squashed, when Patrick Kane fired a shot between Niittymaki's right skate and the left post 22 seconds later. San Jose's defense looked ready to board the plane to Dallas as Kane pumped home his 24th of the season.

Sharp tied a Blackhawks record with four assists in the period, last done in 1973. The 3rd period was a formality, played out to kill time before the Sharks flight to Dallas. Neither team seemed interested in making much contact.

Chicago jumped into the 4th spot in the Western Conference with the victory, hop-scotching the Los Angeles Kings with 84 points.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 2 1 0 3
CHI 1 5 0 6
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 14 (Boyle, Marleau), 2:20, (pp). 2, CHI, Stalberg 11 (Campoli, Johnson), 12:13. 3, SJ, Thornton 17 (Marleau, Pavelski), 18:36.
2nd period - 4, CHI, Hossa 20 (Sharp, Kane), 3:14, (pp). 5, CHI, Hossa 21 (Sharp, Kopecky), 6:06, (pp). 6, CHI, Toews 30 (Sharp, Hjalmarsson), 7:25. 7, CHI, Hjalmarsson 3 (Kopecky), 14:29. 8, SJ, Couture 26 (Vlasic, Clowe), 17:24. 9, CHI, Kane 24 (Sharp, Toews), 17:46.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Pisasni, CHI (boarding), 1:08; Johnson, CHI (hooking), 2:07; Boyle, SJ (interference), 4:23; Mitchell, SJ (hooking), 16:33.
2nd period - Marleau, SJ (hooking), 2:09; Setoguchi, SJ (holding), 5:16; Eager, SJ (slashing), 14:48; Campoli, CHI (slashing), 18:07.
3rd period - Demers, SJ (holding), 1:16.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 18 14
SJ - Niittymaki 16 14
CHI - Crawford 36 33
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 10 16 36
CHI 11 17 6 34
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
CHI 2 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Sharp
Marion Hossa
Jonathan Toews
Attendence
22,094
Officials
Referees: Lee, Pollock. Linesmen: Amell, Barton.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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