Instant Replay: Sharks get shootout win over Blackhawks

Instant Replay: Sharks get shootout win over Blackhawks
January 5, 2014, 7:30 pm
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Jason Demers (5) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the first period vs. the Blackhawks on Sunday. (AP)


Jason Demers and Brent Burns scored in regulation, and Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski converted in the shootout to give the Sharks an impressive 3-2 win over Chicago on Sunday night at United Center.

The decision ended San Jose’s 0-5-1 stretch in the Windy City. It was a much-needed road win, too, as the Sharks picked up just their third victory away from SAP Center in their last 10 (3-7-0).

For two periods, the Sharks and surprise starter Alex Stalock kept the NHL’s highest scoring offense off of the board with defensively responsible play and timely saves.

They couldn’t preserve the goose egg in the third, though. Niklas Hjalmarsson’s slap shot from the high slot and Michal Roszival’s point blast two-and-a-half minutes later gave the Blackhawks their first lead.

It didn’t last. Burns’ slap dunk goal on a soft backhanded dish through the slot from Joe Thornton tied the game at 2-2 with less than nine minutes to go in regulation.

Each team had its chances as the clock ticked towards the end of regulation. During one mad scramble in the Sharks’ defensive zone, Stalock lost his stick but Duncan Keith’s blast with less than two minutes to go missed the net. The Sharks pushed hard after that chance, but Crawford stopped Marleau and Matt Irwin’s shot sailed wide.

San Jose had the best chance in the extra session. On a three-on-one rush, Justin Braun tried to redirect a pass from Logan Couture, but he didn’t get all of it and it deflected harmlessly over the net.

Stalock stopped Jonathan Toews to start the shootout, and Patrick Sharp lifted it high on Chicago’s second chance after Couture scored. Pavelski ended the game, giving San Jose wins in six of its last seven tiebreakers.

Jason Demers’ goal was the only scoring through two periods. Logan Couture him from behind the net, open in the faceoff circle, and Demers’ low shot squeaked past Crawford midway through the first.

In the third, Hjalmarsson found a soft spot in the high slot between Joe Thornton and Brent Burns before unleashing a shot that beat Stalock high to the glove side at 1:27. Not too long after that, Roszival’s point shot beat Stalock from deep in the zone at 4:01, for the defenseman’s first marker in 69 games.

Thornton, the NHL’s assist leader, has 12 in his last eight games and 43 overall. His point streak was extended to eight games, while Pavelski’s ended at seven games. Couture’s four-game goal streak, a career best, was also halted.

The Sharks and Blackhawks meet once more this season on Feb. 1 at SAP Center. Chicago won at home on Nov. 17, 5-1.

Special teams
The Sharks failed to convert on the game’s only power play. Brandon Bollig’s roughing minor at 18:46 of the first period was the only penalty.

In goal
Stalock, who came in to relieve Niemi in two of the previous three games, made his first start since Dec. 21 vs. Dallas. He made 33 saves, is 2-0 in shootouts, and improved to 5-2-0.

Crawford was playing in his second game since returning from a groin injury that had him sidelined for most of December, and stopped 40 shots, a season high for him.

Eriah Hayes made his NHL debut, skating on a fourth line with John McCarthy and Mike Brown. Hayes, 25, has eight points (5g, 3a) in 29 games with Worcester this season.

Freddie Hamilton was reassigned to Worcester after a third unproductive stint. Tommy Wingels (upper body) and Tyler Kennedy (flu) remained out for the Sharks.

Up next
The Sharks conclude their three-game road trip in Nashville on Tuesday. They return home to host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday and Boston Bruins on Saturday.