The San Jose Sharks (8-5-3) fell to the Chicago Blackhawks (14-0-3) by the final score of 2-1.
With the win, the Chicago Blackhawks now set the record for most games to start a season where they earned at least a point during their 17 game streak. They pass the 06-07 Anaheim Ducks for that record. The win also means they also sweep the season series 3-0 against the San Jose Sharks.
The San Jose Sharks struck first when the team’s leading goal-scorer Patrick Marleau scored on a rebound after crashing the net. His linemates Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski got the assists in what would be San Jose’s only goal of the game. Other than that both teams played pretty clean hockey as no power plays were had due to no penalties.
In the second period the Chicago Blackhawks got their first goal of the game on a shot from a bad angle by Viktor Stalberg that squeaked by Antti Niemi. It was unfortunate that such a weak goal got through him because he has been incredible all season, but in the end you still cannot blame him for a loss where the offense only scored one goal.
The goal was Stalberg’s fourth of the season and Patrick Kane also picked up 1his 4th assist of the season on the play.
In the third it was the Blackhawks who took the lead and kept it. Brandon Sadd scored on the first short-handed goal allowed by the Sharks of the season on what seemed like a harmless two-on-two. The fault there lied with defenseman Brent Burns who seemed to allow Saad to just walk inside the blue-line uncontested. Saad gladly (no pun intended) took the real estate and did what any good goal-scorer would, put the puck on net. The results were great for him as he got the puck past Niemi and gave Chicago a 2-1 lead.
From then on out the Sharks were unable, yet again, to mount the comeback against the stubborn Chicago Blackhawks. The loss came after finally ending that streak of atrocious play, and the loss once again shows that the team still has a lot of work to do.
I’ve noticed over the past few games the Todd McClellan has started to change the way he runs his lines. Earlier in the season, whether intentionally or not, guys were playing a pretty even amount of minutes, whether it be a fourth liner or a first liner. Now, looking at tonight’s game (and remembering what I saw in the last few games) he seems to be going top-heavy, giving first liners much more work. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this to see if thats a change that McClellan is going to, or if it is something that has ended up happeneing the past few games. My guess, the former.
My 3 Stars
1. Ray Emery (27 saves, 1 goal allowed)
2. Brandon Saad (Game-winning goal)
3. Antti Niemi (34 saves)