CHICAGO -- Early this season, it was the San Jose Sharks who looked unbeatable.
But Friday night, the team that started 7-0-0 ended up on the wrong side of history, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks, who set an NHL record by completing the first 17 games of a season without a regulation loss.
Still, it was how the Sharks lost -- on a short-handed goal at 2:24 of the third period by rookie Brandon Saad after San Jose defenseman Brent Burns backed away from the shooter -- that had coach Todd McLellan doing a slow burn.
"I thought we let a player in a situation that wasn't very dangerous skate into a primary scoring spot without even challenging him," McLellan said.
So Burns needed to be more aggressive?
"Absolutely. The average hockey fan can tell you that," McLellan said.
San Jose got its lone goal from Patrick Marleau in the loss that dropped the Sharks to 1-5-3 since their winning streak ended. Viktor Stalberg and Saad provided all the offense Chicago needed to improve to 14-0-3.
While Chicago was in the spotlight and had the most to gain, the Sharks clearly had the most to lose. This was the third -- and final -- meeting between the teams, all in the past 18 days, and after Chicago won the first two, this was San Jose's last chance to show it could compete with the league's best.
But nobody in teal was taking any satisfaction from simply coming close to beating the Blackhawks.
"You never do. It's a win or loss league," said Logan Couture. "That's the way this thing goes."