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Sharks fall flat in the Windy City
SJ drops second straight
2/23/18 - By Mike Lee -

Chicago Blackhawks backup goaltender J.F. Berube was making his first start for the Chicago Blackhawks, in his 23rd career NHL game on Friday night. A no-name goaltender in net automatically equates to Kryptonite for the Sharks and this one was no different, as the Sharks fell 3-1 to the Blackhawks at the United Center in Chicago. Berube made 42 saves against a lifeless Sharks offense that simply made it easy for the career backup netminder.

The 42 save statistic is deceiving in that the Sharks never really pressured Berube. The shots were the standard variety long distance attempts that any NHL caliber goaltender should stop in his sleep. Berube's biggest accomplishment was that he was able to stay awake against the lethargic Sharks.

The most disappointing part of this stinker was the Sharks response to the 7-1 drubbing they took 24 hours earlier in Nashville. After getting their teeth kicked in by the Predators, the follow up effort was simply absent.

Given the trade deadline is less than 72 hours away, the absence of hair-on-fire play was baffling. At no point in this game did the Sharks give the impression that they were motivated, interested or engaged. This was a classic example of a team going through the motions.

Sleep walking through the 1st period, San Jose didn't even bother to put a third puck in Berube's direction until the 13 minute mark of the period. They somehow managed to out-shoot the Blackhawks by period's end, but nothing came close to challenging Berube.

Chicago opened the scoring 5:14 into the 2nd period when Jan Rutta pumped a shot home from the slot with five Sharks jerseys standing around the net. Barclay Goodrow literally stood next to the Blackhawks forward and watched him take the shot, rather than play any form of defense.

Nick Schmaltz scored what amounted to the game winner just 2:01 into the 3rd period. Mikkel Boedker's shoddy puck control resulted in a turnover in the high slot, allowing Anthony Duclair to swipe the puck and feed Schmaltz for a one-timer fro the bottom of the left circle.

Timo Meier scored the only Sharks goal of the game at 12:09 of the 3rd period, pumping a shot through traffic from the high slot for his 15th tally of the season. The Sharks forward took a Brent Burns feed from the right side and found a seam with a shot that beat Berube to the stick side.

San Jose had nothing else for the under-achieving Blackhawks. San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer's decision to pull Jones for an extra skater, turned out to be a comedy of errors, as the Blackhawks setup for multiple shots on the Sharks net. Artem Anisimov finally buried one of those chances to cap the game's scoring.

Game Notes:

* New acquisition Eric Fehr was limited to 13:43 of ice time on 18 shifts as he fills the 4th line center spot. Fehr was 10-for-11 in faceoffs to turn in one of the few positives for San Jose. The Sharks won 61% of the game's draws.

* Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson were the only Sharks to not record a shot on goal. Sharks defensemen were responsible for 15 of the 43 shots on goal. Brent Burns led all skaters with a fruitless 7 shots.

* Sharks GM Doug Wilson was in attendance. He spent 14 seasons as a member of the Blackhawks. This is his 15th season as Sharks General Manager.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 1 1
CHI 0 1 2 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, CHI, Rutta 6 (Duclair, Schmaltz), 5:46.
3rd period - 2, CHI, Schmaltz 17 (Duclair), 2:01. 3, SJ, Meier 15 (Burns, Pavelski), 12:09. 4, CHI, Anisimov 17 (Rutta), 19:29, (en).
1st period - None.
2nd period - Ryan, SJ (holding), 18:01.
3rd period - Murphy, CHI (interference), 5:33; Burns, SJ (holding the stick), 6:05.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 35 33
SJ - empty net 1 0
CHI - Berube 43 42
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 15 10 18 43
CHI 11 13 12 36
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 1
CHI 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Nick Schmaltz
J.F. Berube
Anthony Duclair
United Center - 21,906
Referees: Peel, Chmielewski. Linesmen: Miller, Nansen.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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