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Sharks crumble against Blackhawks
Chicago scores 4 goals in 3rd to blow out Sharks
3/14/15 - By Mike Lee -

On the heels of the now public cat fight between Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and Joe Thornton, the Sharks put up a valiant fight for 40 minutes against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, then rolled over after a defensive gaff by rookie defenseman Mirco Mueller. The Blackhawks broke a 2-2 tie in the 3rd period with 4 unanswered goals to blowout San Jose 6-2 at SAP Center.

The fortunes of both teams were on full display as the Blackhawks continue to march toward another playoff run, while the Sharks stumble through the tail end of the season. Thornton's teammates could have used the dust up between their GM and former captain to rally behind either and fight on in their quest to catch the 8th seed in the West, but instead, they rolled over curled up in a corner when faced with a little adversity.

San Jose smothered the Blackhawks early in the game, controlling the puck for much of the opening 5 minutes. A holding the stick penalty to Brian Bickell helped matters, but the Sharks power play couldn't get the puck past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford.

Chicago bit the Sharks on only their 3rd shot of the period at 6:03 of the period when Antoine Vermette found Patrick Sharp racing up the gut. Sharp blew past defenseman Justin Braun then put a shot on Antti Niemi from in tight. Niemi made the initial save, but the rebound kicked out to Sharp, who lifted a shot over the fallen goaltender with Braun watching from the top of the crease.

The Sharks took the initiative later in the period. Malker Karlsson tied the game with 3:11 left in the period, lifting a rebound chance past Crawford after Matt Irwin bounced a shot off the Blackhawks netminder. The goal was Karlsson's 12th of the season, but importantly, it rewarded the Sharks for a nice effort in the period. San Jose was by far the better team through the first 20 minutes of play.

Joe Thornton got a little feisty at the end of the period when Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tried to take liberties with Joe Pavelski. Thornton jumped into a scrum as could be heard jawing at Toews.

Brendan Dillon simplified things for Chicago 7:35 into the 2nd period by taking an interference penalty that setup a power play goal 75 seconds later. Duncan Keith one-timed a shot that eluded a screened Antti Niemi for the 2-1 Blackhawks lead.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews was sent off for tripping to put the Sharks on their 3rd power play of the afternoon. Joe Thornton made some noise that didn't involve vocal instructions to his general manager, by snapping a shot that hit Brent Seabrook and deflected past Crawford to tie the game.

San Jose fell victim to a rookie mistake early in the 3rd period when 1st year defenseman Mirco Mueller fell at his own blueline as Brandon Saad raced up the gut. Saad used the open space to race in on Niemi and lift a shot that beat the Sharks netminder stick side.

San Jose should have been given 4 minutes to tie the game on the man advantage when John Scott took a stick to the face, opeing up a cut under hi left eye, but no penalty was called.

Chicago used the reprieve to tack on another goal. Bickell was the benefactor of a nice setup by Brad Richards from the left corner. Bickell floated to the slot while 4 Shark defenders watched Richards carry the puck around the end boards, then collected Richards' pass and fired a shot past Niemi from in close.

San Jose continued to trip over themselves, albeit figuratively when Thornton was sent off for hooking them Barclay Goodrow made a trip to the box as Thornton's penalty was expiring. Sharks tacked on his 2nd goal of the game during Goodrow's penalty, putting a puck past Niemi for his 12th of the season.

Sharks bench boss decided to try and rally his team from a 3-goal deficit late by pulling Niemi. The head scratching move resulted in Chicago's 6th goal of the game, when Hossa tapped home an empty net goal at 17:44. The move was either an incredible leap of faith or punishment for someone on the bench.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
CHI 1 1 4 6
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, CHI, Sharp 11 (Vermette, Seabrook), 6:03. 2, SJ, Karlsson 12 (Irwin, Thornton), 16:49.
2nd period - 3, CHI, Keith 8 (Hossa, Saad), 8:45, (pp). 4, Thornton 14 (Couture, Burns), 12:16, (pp).
3rd period - 5, CHI, Saad 21 (Teravainen, Crawfrod), 1:21. 6, CHI, Bickell 12 (Hossa, Rozsival), 4:56. 7, CHI, Sharp 12 (Seabrook, Vermette), 15:10, (pp). 8, CHI, Hossa 19 (Hjalmarsson, Toews), 17:44, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Bickell, CHI (holding the stick), 3:46; Karlsson, SJ (holding the stick), 10:32.
2nd period - Vermette, CHI (interference), 1:08; Dillon, SJ (interference), 7:35; Toews, CHI (tripping), 11:27.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (hooking), 11:25; Goodrow, SJ (tripping), 13:27; Bench, CHI (too many men), 19:42.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
CHI - Crawford 35 33
SJ - Niemi 29 24
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CHI 9 4 17 30
SJ 14 12 9 35
Power Play Conversion
CHI 2 of 4
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Sharp
Brad Richards
Corey Crawford
Attendance
17,562
Officials
Referees: Furlatt, Meier. Linesmen: MacPherson, McElman.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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