(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)
The San Jose Sharks fell 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime Sunday. It was the Sharks’ second loss in a row on this road trip, but it was a much better performance from the Sharks than we saw on Friday. Without several key players, the Sharks took the lead twice and hung in there against a formidable opponent. With this loss, the Sharks fell to 3-7-1 in their last 11 games against Chicago.
Sharks goals were scored by Joonas Donskoi, Tommy Wingels and Joe Pavelski. Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his 200th career point in his 700th career game. Blackhawks goals came from Artem Anisimov, Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and the game winner was scored by Jonathan Toews. Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 33 saves on 36 shots.
After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:
We gotta stay with it. We gotta stay with it ’cause we played a pretty good game. You know, it wasn’t good enough, that’s a good team over there and they find ways and we needed to find a way tonight and we didn’t.
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said:
That’s a good point for us, considering the circumstances. Coming in here, Karlsson went down just before the game, so we’re a little shorthanded. Played a lot of, you know, gave the young guys a lot of good minutes and they held up.
Of the team’s resilience after the second tying goal, he said: “We played a real solid game, I was real proud of our group and the effort top to bottom.”
The Sharks went into the game without forwards Joel Ward and Melker Karlsson. Joel Ward’s injury occurred in the final minute of Friday’s game in Ottawa, when Mark Borowiecky pushed him into the boards. Ward has historically been a very durable player, so for him to be injured bodes ill. After the game, DeBoer said that Karlsson had the flu.
Of Ward’s absence, Tommy Wingels said:
He’s a guy that plays big minutes for us, big situations, plays power play, penalty kill and a lot of five-on-five minutes. I think the guys did a good job of filling his minutes but we’ll see and we hope that he’s ready to go for the next game.
Still without Logan Couture, the team dressed seven defensemen after sending Barclay Goodrow back to the AHL Sunday. Just off of injured reserve, Ben Smith was in the lineup to face his old team. Dylan DeMelo was also dressed to fill out the bench, though the Sharks were still short one forward.
Of all the missing players, DeBoer said:
It’s not just Joel Ward. You know, Joel Ward’s a big missing piece, but when you add Couture and Karlsson to that, it’s a… you know… a second… first/second line for us that’s out of the lineup. It’s a big hole for us but I thought everybody stepped up and did a good job.
The Blackhawks were without forward Marian Hossa and had played the night before.
The Blackhawks took an early lead when Paul Martin lost the puck much too close to the Sharks net. Martin was hooked, causing him to bobble the puck instead of clearing it out of danger, but the officials did not agree. Really, Patrick Kane used his stick in such a way that had the hook on MArtin’s hands been missed, it could have beena tripping call since the stick that touched Martin’s hands was also between Martin’s legs, prying up one knee. The goal went to Artem Anisimov at 4:18.
Joonas Donskoi tied the game just over three minutes later, Patrick Marleau won a faceoff in the defensive zone, kicking the puck to Marc-Edouard Vlasic by the goal line. Vlasic tapped it to Justin Braun, who gave it right back as Vlasic went behind the net. Vlasic carried it around behind the net and sent a pass almost to the Chicago blue line, where Donskoi caught it for a breakaway. Donskoi escaped two pursuers and drew Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford out of position, then put the puck home to tie the game.
At 8:25 of the period, Mike Brown and Brandon Mashinter had a scrap. While they sat in the box, Andrew Shaw was called for interference, giving the Sharks the first power play of the game.
The first unit of Marleau, Pavelski, Hertl, Burns and Thornton did not have much luck, but the second unit of Donskoi, Wingels, Vlasic, Nieto and Marleau gave the Sharks a lead. A pass from Vlasic at the point got to Vlasic aboe the faceoff circle. Wingels sent a shot through traffic, including a good screen by Donskoi, right into the top corner. Assists went to Vlasic and Donskoi.
The lead did not last long. Under two minutes later, Duncan Keith took a shot from the Sharks’ blue line. Martin Jones stopped it, and then stopped another shot from Dennis Rasmussen. He could not stop Patrick Kane as he picked up the puck by the post and bounced it gently off of Jones’ back, into the net. The Sharks challenged the play as offside, but the goal held up and the Sharks lost their timeout. Assists went to Rasmussen and Keith.
The first ended with some minutes of back and forth, all chances being snuffed out early. Neither team managed to get very close to the other’s net.
About six minutes into the second period, Joonas Donskoi blocked a Duncan Keith slapshot with his right kneee and was slow to get up. He stayed on the ice, finally got to his feet and moments later blocked a Niklas Hjalmarsson shot with his left ankle. That got the puck out and he was finally able to get off the ice.
After that, Tomas Hertl took a shift in Donskoi’s spot on a line with Marleau and Nieto. Hertl turned up on various lines throughout the game, as the most-moving piece with only eleven forwards available.
With 5:15 left in the second, Paul Martin took a shot from the blue line, which Joe Thornton slowed down with a touch of his stick. The puck carried on towards the net, where Joe Pavelski stopped with his stick. This aloowed him to slide the puck around the goaltender for his seventh point on the road trip. Assists went to Joe Thornton and Paul Martin.
During the last 12 seconds of the period, Patrick Marleau was called for interference after he skated backwards into Corey Crawford.
The Sharks killed off the penalty, most of it in the third period. 2:15 into the third, Matt Nieto drew a holding the stick penalty. The Sharks did not convert on the power play, and had another chance at 4:35. Patrick Kane went to the box for high-sticking Vlasic, as he followed Vlasic into the corner.
Again, the Sharks did not score and just seconds after the power play expired, Andrew Shaw tied the game. After thwarting a three on one, the Sharks saw Shaw escape Paul Martin in the corner and then put the puck up over Jones’ shoulder.
The second half of the third period was so fast as to make overtime seem redundant. They went to the three-on-three session anyway, since no one scored in the mad scramble that was then end of regulation.
The overtime period was a good one. Where the first overtimes were helter-skelter, and some of the later ones have been too conservative, this one struck a nice balance of speed and defensive awareness. It was still a setting for unexpected situations, like the one that ended the game. The period saw several two-on-ones at both ends, until finally Matt Nieto was the one against Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane had just come on the ice as Toews crossed the blue line. The pair made two passes to get around Nieto and then Toews beat Jones on the far side.
Joe Pavelski led the Sharks in hits with 11. Patrick Marleau led in shots with 9. Martin Jones made 28 saves on 32 shots.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Kings in Los Angeles at 7:30 PT.