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Sharks outlast Hawks
Stalock shines in the shootout again
1/5/14 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks had plenty of reasons to expect the worst when squaring off against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. They haven't exactly been playing stellar hockey, and had just lost to the Colorado Avalanche just 24 hours earlier. San Jose also hadn't won in Chicago in their last 6 trips to the United Center. Their road weary legs looked rather spry and allowed them to avenge the 5-1 pasting they took from the Blackhawks the last time they played. After allowing Chicago to grab a 2-1 lead with a pair of 3rd period goals, the Sharks battled back to tie the game and eventually won 3-2 in the shootout.

* With starting goaltender Antti niemi struggling as of late, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan turned to backup Alex Stalock. The rookie netminder was forced to replace Niemi in Colorado on Saturday afternoon after a subpar performance.

* Stalock stopped 33 of 35 shots including 11 in the 1st period, turning aside an early barrage by the host Blackhawks. The Sharks fell behind early in their November 17th affair with the Blackhawks, so it was important to keep Chicago from grabbing the upper hand. Stalock stifled the Blackhawks early, allowing the Sharks to turn the momentum pendulum in their favor.

* Jason Demers gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period, rifling a shot from the right dot after taking a feed from Logan Couture. The goal was only the 3rd of the season for the defenseman, but it gave San Jose a little life in a building that proved a house of horrors on the Sharks last visit.

* San Jose controlled the middle period, out-shooting Chicago 15-12. The period wasn't an offensive showcase, but the Sharks had more opportunities than their opponents. Problem was, they didn't cash in on those opportunities. The paltry one goal lead would prove to be too little to protect.

* The middle 20 minutes has been the Shark Achilles heel this season, but they were able to buckle down and keep their lead whole through two periods. The problem was they simply deferred their defensive issues to the final 20 minutes, and it would bite them.

* Niklas Hjalmarsson finally got to Stalock, finding a seam from the high slot and snapping a shot to the top right corner of the Sharks net. Hjalmarsson slipped Joe Thornton's coverage, taking a Jonathan Toews feed near the right circle and back-skating toward the slot before bagging his 4th of the season.

* Stalock cost his team 2:33 later by allowing a mundane shot from Michal Rozsival slip past him. The shot was one the Sharks netminder needed to stop but failed.

* San Jose drew even at 11:10 when Brent Burns slammed a Joe Thornton feed home. Thornton took a Marc-Edouard Vlasic feed just outside the right post and tried shooting but whiffed on the shot. Thornton gathered the puck that sent a pass through the crease to Burns on the left side for the one time slam dunk.

* The whistles were securely stowed by referees Greg Kimmerly and Wes McCauley, who let a number of infractions by both teams go. The Sharks were spared from a sure tripping call with 5 minutes remaining in the period, and Chicago dodged a sure boarding call that had James Sheppard flying face first into the end boards behind Crawford in the last minute of regulation.

* In the shootout Stalock shined once again. After stopping all 5 shots in his first career NHL shoot two weeks ago, the rookie stopped Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. The Sharks made things easier on their netminder by putting both of their chances by Crawford, nullifying the need for a third round. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski both raced in on net and snapped shots passed Crawford, rather than using the slow entry approach with a number of deeks.

* San Jose actually out-hit Chicago, one of the few times San Jose has out-muscled an opponent this season. They did so by a sizeable margin, 33-21.

* The weather in the Midwest reaped havoc on the region's airports. The Sharks beat the weather into town having played a matinee on Saturday, but their exit was still in question. Many flights in and out of airports in the region were cancelled on Sunday night. San Jose is scheduled to play Nashville in Tennessee on Tuesday night.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 1 0 1 0 1 3
CHI 0 0 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Demers 3 (Couture, Nieto), 10:12.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, CHI, Hjalmarsson 4 (Toews, Sharp), 1:27. 3, CHI, Rozsival 1 (Kruger), 4:01. 4, SJ, Burns 14 (Thornton, Vlasic), 11:10.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - CHI: Toews (miss), Sharp (miss). SJ: Couture (goal), Pavelski (goal)
1st period - Bollig, CHI (roughing), 18:46.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Stalock 35 33
CHI - Crawford 42 40
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 9 15 15 3 42
CHI 11 12 9 3 35
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 1
CHI 0 of 0
3 Stars of the Game
Alex Stalock
Logan Couture
Corey Crawford
Referees: Kimmerly, McCauley. Linesmen: McElman, Henderson.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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