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Sharks edge Hawks in battle of titans
Tomas Hertl scores game winner in his 2nd game back
1/31/17 - By Mike Lee -

The schedule makers put a treat on the calendar when they decided to match-up the Sharks with the Chicago Blackhawks in the first game following the All Star break. With both teams rested, Tuesday night's game pegged two of the best teams in the Western Conference in a battle for that didn't disappoint. The contest was a back and forth affair that was settled in the last 2 minutes of the game when an unlikely source potted the game winner.

That unlikely source was Tomas Hertl, who was making his second start since suffering a knee injury that cost him two months. The Sharks gleeful forward was all smiles after he swept home a long rebound from the top of the crease for his fist goal since his injury back in November.

Brent Burns setup Hertl with a long shot that siled wide right of the goal, but it caromed off the end boards and came back at Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. That rebound glanced off Crawford's rear end, deflecting right to Hertl at the top of the crease. Hertl established inside position on Niklas Hjalmarsson and used the backhand to push the puck into the wide open net.

The goal snapped a tightly contested game that could have gone either way. Martin Jones dueled Crawford in a battle of saves. The Sharks netminder made 24 saves, including several under pressure. Jones couldn't blink against one of the best offenses in the league.

San Jose appeared to take a 1-0 lead midway through the game on the power play when Patrick Marleau grabbed a puck behind the net, then drawing it around the right post for what would have been his 499th career NHL goal. The goal would be disallowed on a coach's challenge, after it was confirmed that Mikkel Boedker was offside earlier in the play.

Marleau shrugged off the misfortune and wet right back to work. He answered the overturned goal by putting his next shot past Crawford moments later. Marleau fired home a puck that kicked off of Crawford after Brent Burns fired a shot on net from the right point. The puck deflected to the right of the goal, splitting Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith's skates and dribbling over to Marleau for the put back.

Dennis Rasmussen tied the game with three minutes left in the period on a wrist shot from 20 feet out that Jones seemed to lose. Rasmussen's shot from just inside the right circle sailed over Jones' right shoulder, catching the top left corner of the goal.

Jones was forced to defend a pair of breakaway chances in the 3rd period, including on a Patrick Kane chance that was partially disrupted by Burns, who was called for tipping on the play. The Sharks special teams was perfect on the penalty kill, turning aside the three chances the Blackhawks had with the man advantage.

Hertl worked his magic as the clock whittled down late in the game.

Chicago was forced to pull Crawford, which enabled Joe Pavelski to seal the win by potting his 17th goal of the season.

Game Notes:

* The marquee match-up still wasn't enough to lure fans to SAP Center. The game was another mid-week non-sellout.

* The loss was Chicago's third straight in regulation this season, which is a first for Chicago this year.

* Patrick Marleau and Toms Hertl led the Sharks with 4 shots each. Ryan Hartman led the Blackhawks with the same shot total.

* In addition to his goal, Joe Pavelski had a pair of assists, which netted him a 3 point night.


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1 2 3 T
CHI 0 1 0 1
SJ 0 1 2 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Marleau 18 (Pavelski, Burns), 14:06, (pp). 2, CHI, Rasmussen 4 (Panik, Seabrook), 16:53.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Hertl 5 (Burns. Pavelski), 17:57. 4, SJ, Pavelski 17 (Couture, Thornton), 19:17.
1st period - Panarin, CHI (hooking), 5:20; Carpenter, SJ (tripping), 12:21; Hartman, CHI (hooking), 17:09.
2nd period - Dillon, SJ (tripping), 9:22; Anisimov, CHI (holding), 13:33.
3rd period - Burns, SJ (tripping), 2:54.
Shots Saves
CHI - Crawford 28 26
CHI - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 25 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CHI 7 10 8 25
SJ 10 11 8 29
Power Play Conversion
CHI 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Hertl
Patrick Marleau
Martin Jones
SAP Center - 17,424
Referees: McCauley, Kowal. Linesmen: Cameron, Mach.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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