Hockey / Sports

The San Jose Sharks' Mike Brown (18) fires the puck on net as Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes the save in the first period at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Blackhawks fall to Sharks in shootout

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Chicago Blackhawks knew they were facing a Sharks team that was going through a dry spell when the teams met at the SAP Center on Saturday night.

The drought continued through 46 minutes, but it affected both teams.

Neither team found the back of the net until both did in the third period, and neither could find it again in overtime. The problem was solved by a shootout, which the Sharks won for a 2-1 victory. The Hawks haven't pulled off a win in 19 overtimes this season.

After a scoreless two periods, Sharks center Joe Pavelski broke through with a short-handed goal 6 minutes, 10 seconds into the third. Hawks winger Brandon Saad responded just 1:03 later on the same power play following a pass from Kris Versteeg.

The Sharks entered the day ranked fourth in the NHL allowing 2.33 goals per game, and they were able to slow a Hawks team that had scored nine goals in its last two games. The Sharks outshot the Hawks 22-21 in the first two periods, but the game remained scoreless.

The Hawks couldn't convert on a few good chances against Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi, including Patrick Kane's shot that hit the post midway through the first period. Meanwhile, Corey Crawford, who entered the game with a 1.44 goals-against average and .955 save percentage against the Sharks this season, helped keep the Hawks even.

Hawks captain Jonathan Toews indicated before the game that the Sharks' lack of scoring lately wasn't going to fool the Hawks into taking it easy to start the game, which was their third of six straight on the road.

"They're always dangerous, especially here at home," Toews said. "We'll be ready for them to come out hard in the first period like they always do. We know there are going to be some shifts where you're stuck in your own zone and it feels like all hell is breaking loose, but you just have to stay under control and stay calm and play your position and stick with it. Try to return the favor and get some momentum going any way you can."

The Hawks fought through a few rough plays to stay in it, including several pileups in front of Niemi that didn't result in a goal. Toews slid into the post while attempting to score short-handed with about seven seconds to play in the first. He rolled on the ice for a couple of seconds before skating to the bench but returned in the second.

Hawks center Brandon Pirri took a stick to the face in the second period, but the Hawks couldn't convert on the power play after Justin Braun was called for high-sticking. The Hawks were 0-for-3 on the power play in the first two periods.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said before the game that his team needed to be ready from the start, a point made more important by the fact the Hawks took two days off after their 5-2 victory Wednesday over the Canucks.

"(The Sharks) have a lot of weapons on their side, and they attack," Quenneville said. "They've got a great power play. Being ready to start and making sure we've got our minds in the right place (will be key), knowing that probably the most important part of this game is probably the first 10 minutes."

One-timers: Hawks winger Brandon Bollig played in his 100th NHL game Saturday. "Give him some credit," Quenneville said. "He's really progressed in his game. The one element that got him in the league is toughness, and now he's added other elements to make him a more complete player, and that's responsibility without the puck." ... Winger Marian Hossa sat out the team's morning skate but was in the lineup. Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch for the third time in four games.... Center Michal Handzus returned to San Jose to face the team that traded him in April. "Obviously I wasn't happy with the way I played. I'm sure they weren't happy with how I was playing, so we just parted ways," Handzus said of the split. "That's just how it is."

(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services




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