SAN JOSE -– Typically, returning home just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday is a joyous occasion.
Not for the Sharks, as the Chicago Blackhawks played the role of the nagging grandmother asking why you’re still single in a 5-2 win over San Jose at SAP Center on Wednesday night.
After sweeping a six-game road trip, including a thrilling come-from-behind win in Columbus on Sunday, the Sharks fell to 3-6-0 on home ice. They squandered a chance to take over sole possession of first place, as the Kings lost in a shootout.
Chicago was all over the Sharks early, registering the first eight shots on goal and taking a 1-0 lead on Brent Seabrook’s blast through traffic at 8:39.
Brent Burns registered San Jose’s first shot with 6:52 to go in the first period, and also tied the game on the power play at 14:56 on a cross-ice pass from Joe Pavelski.
Chicago responded before the break, though, when Matt Tennyson was caught deep in the offensive end. Jonathan Toews skated ahead on a two-on-one and lifted the puck over Martin Jones’ shoulder at 16:24.
The defending champs increased their edge to 3-1 with the only marker in the second, when Duncan Keith tossed the puck towards the net from the wall and it breezed past Jones, who appeared to be screened by Marc-Edouard Vlasic at 12:20.
Patrick Marleau gave the home team some hope in the third, when he skated with the puck from the point to the far faceoff dot and beat Corey Crawford with a wrister at 11:20 to pull the Sharks to within 3-2.
Former Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins quickly restored the two-goal cushion, though, whacking home a loose puck during a scramble in front of the net at 12:27. It was Desjardins’ first point of the season in his 19th game.
An empty-net goal by Andrew Shaw in the final minute ended things.
The Sharks struggled defensively all night without Justin Braun, who was out with an upper body injury. The third defense pair of Tennyson and Mirco Mueller looked lost, while Burns made a number of questionable decisions in his own zone and took two tripping minors.
San Jose fell to 0-4 when missing one of its top four defenseman. Previously, Paul Martin missed three games in October and the Sharks were outscored 14-4.
Hart Trophy frontrunner Patrick Kane tallied two assists, increasing his point streak to 17 games. The forward has 10 goals and 18 assists over that span.
Chicago improved to 2-1-1 on its six-game road trip. It was their only visit to San Jose this season, while the Sharks are at United Center on Dec. 20 and Feb. 9.
The Sharks’ power play was a bright spot, as it generated a whopping 15 shots on goal, including Burns’ marker, the Sharks’ first power play goal at home this season. Still, they couldn’t find the net in the third period despite nearly four minutes of time with a man advantage and the game still within reach.
Chicago finished 0-for-3 on the power play. The Sharks have allowed just one power play goal against in their last four games (13-for-14).
After getting the night off on Sunday, Jones returned to the crease and took the loss, allowing four goals on 25 shots. The 25-year-old was named as the NHL’s first star of the week on Monday after winning all three of his starts, but dropped to 11-6-0 on the season.
Crawford made 27 saves and is 7-2-3 in his career against the Sharks, and 10-6-1 on the year.
Dainius Zubrus made his Sharks debut, the day after signing a one-year contract. Zubrus had been with the club on a tryout. To make room for Zubrus, rookie Nikolay Goldobin was reassigned to the Barracuda on Sunday.
Joonas Donskoi saw his four-game point streak come to an end.
Tommy Wingels and Tomas Hertl were benched for third period, while Tennyson played just one shift late when the game was already decided.
The Sharks remain home to host the Calgary Flames on Saturday, the first of five meetings between the Pacific Division rivals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, Dec. 1.