Blackhawks bitten by the Sharks 2-1 in shoot out
The best cure for a struggling hockey team is to play an equally struggling hockey team. In their final regular season meeting of this season both the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks meet each other at not their best. Both clubs came in having their struggles.
The game was scoreless for the first two periods which may have been indicative of each of the clubs struggles. Another explanation the goaltenders were at their best which Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi were for their clubs. Hard to imagine with both of the powerhouse offenses these teams have. San Jose has been bitten by injury to key offensive players.
The game even though it was scoreless for forty minutes had good pace to it and the Blackhawks had their chances with power play opportunities that they could not capitalize on. The game was a tightly contested affair that had a little bit of a playoff feel to it.
It was their power play that failed them when Joe Pavelski got a shorthanded goal as he busted into the Hawks zone singlehandedly and got it past Crawford for a 1-0 Sharks lead. That lead was short lived on the same Hawks power play Brandon Saad answered with a power play goal that tied the game at 1-1.
The last seven minutes of the game unlike the rest of the game saw chances traded by both sides as the game opened up. The Hawks were on the penalty kill for the closing minutes of the game when Patrick Sharp took a bad penalty in the offensive zone. The Hawks using good sticks to clog up the passing lanes survived the penalty kill and weathered regulation as the teams went off to overtime.
The Hawks were able to gain at least one point which in the tight Western Conference is very important considering earlier in the night the St. Louis Blues had won their game. Could the Hawks pick up the second point? Well in this tight game of course it ended tied and to a shoot out the teams went.
In the shoot out the Hawks shooters were Toews & Sharp, and the Sharks shooters were Pavelski, Marleau and Thornton all of who scored and the only Hawk to score was Toews so the Hawks fell in the shoot out 2-1 and with that also lost the series to the Sharks two games to one.
The point gained was crucial as it keeps the Hawks ahead of St. Louis by one point but St. Louis has games in hand. The Hawks need to pick it up before heading to the Olympic break as the West is getting to close for comfort. The Hawks will face another struggling team the LA Kings as they continue their California tour.
Three Stars of the game:
1. A. Niemi
2. C. Crawford
3. J. Pavelski
Next game Monday, February 3, at 9: 30p.m. CDT from the Staples Center vs the LA Kings. Tune in to WGN in the Chicago; or listen via WGN 720.