Sorry for the late recap, but some of us have lives and late rink time, so eat it!
With a little help from Anaheim Ducks, this was not a matchup of teams with no regulation losses, but it was still a matchup of two of the hottest, or maybe luckiest, teams in the NHL. Between the two of them, the Hawks and Sharks had 1 regulation loss, with the Sharks losing in Anaheim Monday night. Not much different on this Sharks team than years past. You have Jeremy Roenick's favorite Shark, Pat Marleau; former Blackhawks Martin Havlat, Michal Handzus, Antti Niemi, and Adam Burish; as well as Jumbo/Gentile Joe Thornton. If the Hawks came out like the team that gave up 40-something shots to the pitiful Flames, then they were going to have a drastically different turnout in San Jose. This one almost got out of hand in a hurry. Live from San Jose, California, it's the Shark and Blackhawks...
I probably wasn't the only one that watched the first 10 minutes of the first period and thought the Hawks were going to be whaloped. They were certainly due for a whaloping, and based on their play against Calgary, it looked like that bullet was coming down the chamber. Luckily, that never happened. The Hawks reached down, whipped out their coconuts, and they fought back mere seconds after the Sharks took a 3-1 lead, and eventually evened up the score. The first ended up a track meet, and that usually favors the Hawks. They out shot the Sharks 16-10 and took that 3-3 tie into the second period.
After that wide open first period the game settles down, and the Sharks regained a little composure, doubling up the Hawks in shots 12-6. The Hawks scored the only goal of the middle 20 minutes, during a 4-on-4, and took that one goal lead into the final frame.
The Hawks stood tall in the third, even though they were out shot once again. They eventually scored a late open net goal to ice the game, and leave San Jose with all their vital organs intact. It wasn't pretty but it was effective, and the Hawks maintained their regulation undefeated streak. Next up, Southwestern Quebec, aka Phoenix, in the desert.
- Brandon Saad finally broke his NHL scoreless streak, getting his first goal in a huge way. The Hawks were on their heels and the fire was stirring when Lucky Number Sleven and El Capitan worked a nice give-n-go high in the Sharks zone. Seabrook knifed up the middle of the Sharks zone and dished to The Saadfather, on the back door, for a one timer past Niemi. Huge goal for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that the whole team is pulling for this kid, and they all seem to love him. A #20 jersey might be in my future, because I share the love for him. 2-1 Sharks.
- Eight seconds after the Handzus goal, Swedeberg carried the puck into the Sharks zone and dumped it around the boards. Bickell picked it up and reversed it back around the net, feeding a wide open Shawfacts right on Niemi's front porch, to immediately grab the momentum back. I'm not sure what the hell the Sharks were doing, but it had nothing to do with playing defense. That fast, the Hawks were back in the game. 3-2 Sharks.
- Less than a minute after the Shaw goal another kid, Marcus Kruger, tied the game back up on a bad Sharks turnover. Frolik picked up a free puck and fired it off Niemi from a tight angle, but Kruger picked up the rebound and deposited it into the net around Niemi, completing the comeback. The first period wasn't even complete, there were 6 goals on the board, and both Coaches had used their timeouts.
- Crawford settled down, after the three initial goals, and regained his composure. At one point, He was one-on-one with Marleau's hot, dog breath in his grill. Crawford stuffed him, and the rest is history.
- After the Mayers/Keith/Desjardins fracas (more on this below) the Hawks, more specifically El Capitan and Crazy 8's, used the open ice to clown the Sharks deep in their own zone and take the lead. Toews led the rush, 2-on-3, and dropped it to Kane, who never really got anything on a shot. Murray ended up with the puck and Niemi went down in the confusion. Murray tried to control the puck, so he could send the Sharks back the other way, but Toews picked his pocket in disgusting fashion. Instead of forcing a shot that Niemi would likely eat up, Toews fed Crazy 8's, who had curled back at the dot, and Kane beat Niemi. Just not fair. Lets trade that Kane kid. He's a lazy alcoholic bum, who has no heart. Dumb Meatballs! 4-3 Hawks.
- Kane closed out the Sharks night with an open netter, to complete a 2 goal night. Clutch from Crazy 8's. 5-3 Hawks
- Three shots on net for Frolik in under 9 minutes of ice time and a vital part in the game tying goal. The kid just keeps doing his job. I'm loving it.
- Faceoffs were fairly even for both teams, even though Scott Gomez was 10 and 1 at the dots. No need to investigate him, Stan. Bolland and Kruger are doing just fine getting dong smacked at the dots, nightly.
- El Capitan was a forechecking beast with 4 takeaways. Just ask Douglas Murray what he thinks of that.
- It didn't take long for the Hawks to pick the puck out of their own net. About three minutes in, Dan Boyle took a long point shot that Crawford fought off, but the rebound plopped down right in front of a disturbingly wide open Joe Pavelski who easily shoveled it into a gaping net. How Pavelski was able to sit between Brookbank, Oduya, and Kruger without anyone picking him up is beyond me. 1-0 Sharks.
- Havlat and Murray took a combined minus six for the night. Good job, boys! Doug Murray is a tank, though. I'd still take him on my blue line. He tossed Shawfacts around like a rag doll. I give Shaw credit though, because he doesn't know the word quit and comes back for more punishment each time.
- The Hawk were out hit again, but this is nothing new. Pretty much par for the course here, but the Meatballs will cry foul and scream for people like Kane to "hit someone", which is asinine, because the guy is basically 140lbs. Fools.
- Just over two minutes after the Pavelski tally, Sheldon Brookbank did his best Chris Campoli impression in the neutral zone, and Tommy Wingels beat Crawford up the left wing, on a pretty marginal goal. Yes, Pat, we understand Wingels is from the Chicago area, and reminding me every shift gets old, very fast. He's not the first or last player to come out of Chicago, so let's say you drop it, capisce? Anyhow, Quenneville wisely used his timeout to call in someone with a fire extinguisher, because the Sharks looked like they were going to run away with this game. 2-0 Sharks, but smart move be Q to stop the bleeding.
- Under a minute after the Saad goal, the Sharks regained their 2 goal lead, when Tommy Wingels, whom I've heard is from the Chicago area, got his second point of the night. Wingels took advantage of an odd man situation and fed the trailer, Handzus, for another fairly soft goal. I'll be honest, I probably would have pulled Crawford at that point, but Quenneville stuck with his guy, and it eventually payed off. 3-1 Sharks.
- I might be in the minority, but I didn't have a big problem with the Desjardins hit on MegaMayers. It was more shoulder to shoulder, but the jolt rattled the cobwebs in Jamal's head. Maybe it was interference, but as far as hits go, it was fairly clean. Furthermore, I'm usually against the retaliation to big hits, but I kind of like to see the usually level headed Keith stand up for his teammate. He jumped in and stuck up for a fourth liner that is highly respected in the locker room. I still think Keith was a little wonky from the elbow to the ribs that he had taken, because he was a little "on edge", similar to the Sedin saga from last season. This may be a turning point in the brotherhood of this team. Now, the 19 minutes in penalties Keith earned is another subject altogether. The "Instigator with a shield" penalties is a stupid fucking rule. You're not deterring players from starting a fight, you're dettering players from wearing shields. Just plain moronic. Either way, I think it was a hockey play, and the Sharks should cry foul if there is any follow up punishment to the hit. Mayers was left hung out to dry on a suicide pass by Keith and got caught with his head down. Maybe Keith was feeling guilty for the pass, adnthat's why he jumped Desjardins.
- Hjalmarsson didn't have his most productive game, turning the puck over a team high 5 times. Considering the level of play he's been hovering at, he was bound to have an off night. Hey, Doug Wilson, still want him?