Event Name: San Jose Sharks vs Chicago Blackhawks
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Location: SAP Center: 525 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
Hosted by: San Jose Sharks Hockey
Tuesday night, the San Jose Sharks faced the Chicago Blackhawks, an original six team with over 93 years of hockey history. Chicago has won 3 Stanley Cups in the last 7 years and is a serious contender on the backs of perennial all-stars Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews. After losing to the Blues in the 1st round of playoffs last year, they have taken strides to improve their game this year. The Sharks are no slouches either, and are also a serious contender this year and likely gatekeepers of the conference finals. With the 3 game season series between these two teams currently tied at 1, both teams look to take the lead tonight.
The Hawks came into the game second in Central Division with 65 points while the Sharks came in with a delicate hold of first in Pacific Division with 64 points. Both teams feel the pressure to set the tone in case of a potential playoff matchup later this year. This season Chicago has won 12 of their 22 road games while San Jose has made the tank a formidable place for visitors, having now won 17 of their 25 home games. Chicago has lost their last 2 games allowing 10 goals while only scoring 5. They look to come out of the All-Star break swinging and end their losing streak before it gets out of hand.
The game started with plenty of energy and chances for both sides. Just 4 minutes into the period, a shot by Brent Burns (88) was blocked by a Hawks defenseman who quickly passed it up ice to Ryan Hartman (38) as he rushed in to Sharks zone on a break-away. Luckily for the Sharks, Martin Jones (31) stood tall with a pad denying Hartman. That wouldn’t be the only amazing save of the night. Both teams were perfect on the penalty kill, with Sharks killing their only penalty of the period while the Hawks killed off two of their own. At the end of the period, the score remained 0-0 but the Sharks outshot the Hawks 10-7.
Just over 11 minutes into the 2nd period, Mikkel Boedker (89) dropped a pass back to Logan Couture (39) at the top of the slot for a one-timer which went wide and bounced back off the boards to the side of net. Hawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) went to the far post while Patrick Marleau (12), gathered the puck and wrapped it around into the net for his 499th goal. However, upon coach’s challenge for offside, the goal was reviewed and disallowed. This definitely could have deflated the Sharks but just 2 minutes later Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) drew a holding penalty on Artem Anisimov (15) putting the Sharks on their 3rd power play of the game. Just 30 seconds in, Brent Burns (88) took a shot from the blue line which got tipped by Joe Pavelski (8) and saved, but Patrick Marleau (12) once again found himself in the right place at the right time and fired the rebound into the top shelf on the short side putting the Sharks up 1-0 and scoring his 499th goal again in the process. Just 3 minutes later, Dennis Rasmussen (70) crossed over the blue line into the Sharks zone and used defenseman Paul Martin as a screen before firing in a rocket of a wrist shot into the top corner on the far side tying the score 1-1. At the end of the period, the score remained 1-1 and the Sharks continued to outshoot the Hawks 21-17.
The third period continued to be an absolute nail biter and with all the ingredients and intensity of a playoff game. Just about 3 minutes into the third, Duncan Keith (2) gathered Burns’ blocked shot and made a quick forward pass from front of his goal to Patrick Kane (88) as he broke out of the zone. Kane would get tripped by Burns’ diving attempt to slow him down, but would still get up and take a threatening shot that was stopped by Jones. It was a smart move by Burns, who took a hooking penalty on the play to deny one of the best stick-handlers in the league a clean breakaway. In the first 6 minutes of the period, Chicago had 5 shots on goal while San Jose had 0. The score remained tied until the last minutes of the game when Burns ripped a slap shot that went wide but bounced off the boards hitting the back of Crawford’s skate and sliding into the crease. Tomas Hertl (48) tucked home the loose puck giving the Sharks 2-1 lead. Joe Pavelski scored an empty net goal to ice the game in the last few seconds, making the final score 3-1.
The Sharks led in shots (29-25), takeaways (21-6) and hits (25-11) while the Blackhawks led in face-offs (59%-41%), giveaways (26-16) and blocked shots (22-21).
Patrick Marleau scored his 499th goal and has scored 6 goals in his last 4 games. He was also one of the NHL’s Stars of the Week after recording 6 points (5G 1A) in 3 games last week. Tomas Hertl scored the game winning goal, his 5th goal of the season and his first after returning from an injury that kept him out for more than 30 games. The Sharks biggest stars continued to shine, as Brent Burns had 2 assists while Joe Pavelski had 2 assists and an empty net goal.
San Jose continues their regular season Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.
INDTVUSA Staff Writer