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Sharks win humdinger vs Hawks
Special teams extra special on Thanksgiving-eve
11/23/16 - By Mike Lee -

Losses to teams like the Carolina Hurricanes and Phoenix Coyotes become all the more frustrating when the Sharks play the way they did on Wednesday night. San Jose turned in a statement performance with a solid 2-1 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks at SAP Center. Chicago leads the Western Conference for good reason this season, but it was the Sharks night as the special teams were extra special and Martin Jones had a second consecutive gem of a game.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the Sharks relied on Jones to stop one of the most potent offenses in the NHL. The goaltender stopped 33 shots, many of which were quality chances that forced Jones to be on top of his game. After shutting out the New Jersey Devils on Monday night, Jones pt his team in a position to win with clutch save after save.

San Jose used the power play and penalty kill to generate their offense, before leaning on Jones.

Artem Anisimov put the Sharks on the first power play of the evening 11:20 into a wild 1st period. San Jose capitalized when Logan Couture blasted a one-time feed from Joe Pavelski, beating Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford through a small window against the right post. Couture was setup at the right dot, converting 12 seconds into the man advantage.

The Blackhawks entered the game with the league's worst penalty kill, having given up 20 goals on 63 chances. Couture must have read the scouting report, because he wasted no time putting rubber in the direction of the Chicago net.

Mar-Edouard Vlasic obliged the Blackhawks with a penalty of his own less than 3 minutes later, but the Sharks turned the tables on Chicago when Chris Tierney poked a deflection out of his own zone. Joel Ward got a jump on the puck, beating Brent Seabrook at the Blackhawks blueline before taking three strides and snapping a shot past Crawford for the unlikely goal.

What was more unlikely was the fact that San Jose executed a more physical game plan, out-hitting the Blackhawks 19-4 in the opening period. Marion Hossa was a frequent target of a Sharks check. San Jose finished the games with 34 hits on Blackhawk skaters. San Jose averages 18.4 hits per game.

Hossa may have been thinking about getting hit when he misfired on what appeared to be a sure chance early in the 2nd period on a plat from the right side. The Blackhawks forward had Martin Jones beat and a wide open net, but he may have heard footsteps and flubbed the puck as he raced past the right post.

Artemi Panarin cut the Sharks lead in half 12:11 into the 2nd period on a blast from the left side that finally eluded Jones. The Blackhawks sustained a flurry of Sharks shots on goal earlier in the period, then capitalized on the Panarin tally. The goal also ended Jones' shutout streak at 92:11.

Martin Jones preserved the Sharks lead by stopping a Ryan Hartman one-timer moments later.

Jones would earn his paycheck in the 3rd when Chicago tried to press for the equalizer. The Sharks goaltender had to turn aside a flurry of shots midway through the period.

Chris Tierney narrowly missed on a chance along the left post, but Niklas Hjalmarsson cleared the puck as it slid through the unattended crease.

Chicago was forced to pull Crawford late in the game, but they couldn't generate any serious chances with the clock ticking down. San Jose played a consistent defensive game, denying the Blackhawks.

Game Notes:

* Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews suffered an undisclosed injury at some point early in the game. Toews three shifts to start the 2nd before calling it a night.

* San Jose also turned their faceoff games upside down, winning 30 of 54 draws (56%).

* Former Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray was in attendance.

* The game was not a sellout, which was a bit of a surprise given the opponent and the fact that the game fell on the eve of a holiday. 15,501 paid, falling 151 short of capacity. Many of those in attendance were decked out in red.


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1 2 3 T
CHI 0 1 0 1
SJ 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, CHI, Couture 6 (Pavelski, Burns), 11:32, (pp). 2, SJ, Ward 2 (Tierney), 14:42, (sh).
2nd period - 3, CHI, Panarin 8 (Anisimov, Hjalmarsson), 12:11.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Motte, CHI (slashing), 10:36; Dillon, SJ (slashing), 10:36; Anisimov, CHI (hooking), 11:20; Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 14:16.
2nd period - Wingels, SJ (interference), 14:06; Bench, CHI (too many men), 15:28; Motte, CHI (slashing), 15:47.
3rd period - Campbell, CHI (tripping), 13:40.
Shots Saves
CHI - Crawford 35 33
SJ - Jones 34 33
SJ - empty net
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CHI 14 11 9 34
SJ 13 13 9 35
Power Play Conversion
CHI 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Martin Jones
Corey Crawford
Joel Ward
SAP Center - 17,501
Referees: Morton, Rank. Linesmen: Shewchyk, Rody.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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