The San Jose Sharks beat the Chicago Blackhawks in their first game of a four game home stand before the Winter Olympics, where the NHL will take a break. Coming off of a three game losing streak, the Sharks battled for the 2-1 victory that went into a shootout round Saturday night at the SAP Center.
The action started when Sharks’ defenseman Brad Stuart went to the penalty box for hooking against Patrick Kane 5:43 into the third.
Joe Pavelski, who did not get any points during the losing streak, scored the first goal of the game. Pavelski got the puck from defenseman Scott Hannan, who was clearing the puck up ice, and then he battled for room against Blackhawk’s assistant captain, Duncan Keith. He took the shot with very little room and a lot of pressure to give the Sharks the lead. The shorthanded goal came at 6:10 in the third, but the one point lead didn’t last very long because Brandon Saad scored a minute and three seconds later to end the power play.
Tied at one a piece at the end of regulation, the game moved into overtime, where neither team managed to seal the deal. In the shootout round Pavelski and Patrick Marleau’s attempts were both successful, so when Antti Niemi stopped Blackhawk’s Patrick Sharp, Captain Joe Thornton had the opportunity to win the game… and he did.
With a move that is highlight worthy, Thornton completely fooled Blackhawk’s goaltender, Corey Crawford, to go in the opposite direction of the puck. Thornton was then able to capitalize on the open space Crawford left in the goal.
During their losing streak, the Sharks lost to the two bottom teams in the league (Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames), but they were able to put that behind them and focus on getting some wins at home before the olympic break. They managed to be successful against the Blackhawks, the top team in the league, and can now try and win the next few games in regulation.
They will continue their home stand against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.