SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski's shorthanded goal and Joe Thornton's spectacular shootout marker helped the Sharks to a 2-1 win over Chicago at SAP Center on Saturday night.
San Jose ended a three-game losing streak, all in regulation, by keeping the NHL's best offense at bay and by winning its sixth straight tiebreaker.
After a scoreless first two periods, Brad Stuart’s hooking penalty on Patrick Kane led to a goal from each team in the third.
The Sharks struck first, shorthanded. Kane misfired on a pass towards the neutral zone, and Scott Hannan gobbled it up. The defensemen found Pavelski racing towards the net, and Pavelski’s shot went high to the short side past Corey Crawford at 6:10. It was Pavelski’s 29th, leading the team.
Chicago used its remaining time on the power play to tie it. Brent Seabrook kept the puck in at the point and Justin Braun couldn’t find the handle on a bouncing puck in the Sharks’ defensive zone. Kris Versteeg’s pass through the slot to an open Brandon Saad at 7:13 made it a 1-1 game.
San Jose nearly regained the lead with 7:30 to go, but Stuart was denied by Crawford’s left pad after a beautiful set up by James Sheppard. Then, with three minutes left, Marian Hossa’s wrist shot on Antti Niemi led to a scramble in the crease, but the Sharks’ goaltender eventually froze the puck.
The Sharks went on a power play with 2:28 to go in regulation, but Thornton passed up a chance to shoot in the circle and Crawford snagged Matt Irwin’s slap shot.
In the shootout, Pavelski and Marleau scored on the Sharks’ first two attempts. After Niemi denied Sharp, Thornton made a beautiful move in fooling Crawford and slammed it in.
The game was even through two periods, with the Sharks holding a slim 22-21 margin in shots on goal.
In the first period, each team found the iron. Kane’s sneaky shot from high in the zone rang off of the post midway through, and less than three minutes later, Dan Boyle’s one-timer deflected off of the cross bar and into the safety netting.
In the second, Jonathan Toews dug around for a loose puck in the crease, but an early whistle stopped play. Crawford stopped Matt Nieto’s redirection shortly after that.
The Sharks looked dangerous on a power play at 8:39 after Chicago was whistled for too many men, but Boyle’s tip try from the slot was knocked away by Crawford. Chicago had a power play of its own late in the period, and Marian Hossa’s attempted redirection from between the circles sailed wide.
The Sharks and Blackhawks split the first two games of the season series, both at the United Center, including San Jose’s 3-2 win in a shootout on Jan. 5.
The Sharks outshot Chicago in regulation, 39-30, including a 17-9 edge after the second intermission.
Despite ample zone time, the Sharks failed to score a power play goal for the sixth straight game. They are 0-for-16 over than span.
Chicago entered with the league’s fourth best power play, and finished 1-for-4. The Sharks had killed off 16 of the previous 17 power plays against before Saad’s marker.
Niemi stopped 29 Blackhawks shots, and has allowed two or fewer goals in six of his last eight starts. He’s 5-1-0 in his career against Chicago at home.
Crawford made 38 saves, two off his season high.
Logan Couture missed his 13th straight game, and it was learned on Saturday morning that he would likely sit out until after the Olympic break.
Jason Demers missed the game with a lower body injury. That meant Hannan was back in on the blue line, paired with Stuart.
Forward John McCarthy cleared waivers and was reassigned to Worcester on Saturday morning.
The Sharks host Philadelphia on Monday, Dallas on Wednesday and Columbus on Friday before the Olympic break begins.