Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks beat the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 Sunday night. Despite the absence of Erik Karlsson, the Sharks still got three goals from Swedish players in the third period. Melker Karlsson scored two and Marcus Sorensen scored one. Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier added two more for the Sharks. Martin Jones made 28 saves for the win. Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson scored for Chicago and Cam Ward made 29 saves in the loss.
Both Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane missed a second game in a row with injuries. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Peter DeBoer talked about winning without them in the lineup:
Take out two critical pieces like that out of somebody’s team and you’re in tough. But I thought our fourth line was excellent tonight, I thought Tim Heed’s been playing great hockey for us. That’s what good teams do on nights when guys are out or nights when a line is off a little bit, another line picks it up. I thought Tommy Hertl and his line were real good tonight so, you know, that’s part of winning hockey.
Tomas Hertl gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 12:16 of the first. He carried the puck into the zone, pestered somewhat by Duncan Keith, and when Cam Ward went down to block the shot, slipped the puck around him. Tim Heed got the assist.
Chicago tied it up in the final minute of the period with a goal from Dylan Strome. A few good offensive shifts from Chicago was followed by a neutral zone turnover by the Sharks. That gave the Blackhawks a two on one of Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat. Strome looked like he would pass, but he shot and beat Jones on the blocker side. DeBrincat and Brent Seabrook got the assists.
At the end of the first, Chicago held the lead in shots 11-7. The Sharks had won 67% of the face-offs.
Early in the second, Timo Meier gave the Sharks the lead back. He started by sending the puck around the boards to Tim Heed before moving to the slot. Then, from above the hash marks, he tipped Heed’s shot, sending the puck just under the goalie’s glove. Tomas Hertl screened Ward so the goalie really had no chance to see the shot coming. Assists went to Heed and Joonas Donskoi.
Erik Gustafsson tied it back up at 6:40. After a little give and go up by the blue line with Jonathan Toews, Gustafsson moved to the middle of the ice and took a shot right up the middle, going through three skaters aligned in a perfect screen. The puck brushed the underside of Jones’s sleeve as it went in. Assists went to Toews and Keith.
The Sharks outshot the Blackhawks 14-12 in the second period, but their face-off win percentage dropped to 53%.
4:27 into the third, the Sharks took the lead back with a great shot from Marcus Sorensen skating to the net. Joe Thornton and Joonas Donskoi had spent a spell around the net and boards. Thornton and Donskoi got the assists.
During a delayed penalty against Chicago, Melker Karlsson extended the lead to 4-2. It was a well-deserved goal for a fourth line that had been close to scoring several times in the game. Karlsson tipped a Brent Burns shot tipped from the hash marks. The time of the goal was 8:16, with assists going to Burns and Micheal Haley.
Karlsson scored again at 17:38. The Chicago net was empty when Karlsson picked Goodrow’s clearing shot out of the air. He broke away and took his shot from the Chicago blue line. Assists went to Goodrow and Haley.
The Sharks killed three of three penalties, one per period and had one power play during which they did not score. They allowed eight shots on the three penalty kills and got one on the power play. The final shot count was 34-30 Sharks and they won 51% of the face-offs.
The win puts the Sharks just three points behind the Pacific Division and Western Conference leaders, the Calgary Flames.
The Sharks next play on Thursday against the visiting Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 PM PT.