San Jose Sharks center Nick Bonino, center left, is congratulated by defenseman Brent Burns (88), center Thomas Bordeleau, center right, and center Scott Reedy (54) at the SAP Center in San Jose on Sat Apr 24, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Saturday. The Sharks showed some good depth in scoring, with ten Sharks in all earning points in the game. Jasper Weatherby, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier and Nick Bonino scored for the Sharks. Kaapo Kahkonen made 27 saves for the win. Tyler Johnson scored for Chicago and Kevin Lankinen made 15 saves in the loss.
The Sharks announced the Bay Area media’s selections for end-of-year award winners after the game. Timo Meier was named player of the year, Jonathan Dahlen was named rookie of the year. Brandon Coe was named prospect of the year and James Reimer won for Media Good Guy.
On Saturday, the Sharks got goals from both Meier and Hertl, something that has not happened for a while. It is likely that the return of linemate Alexander Barabanov had something to do with that. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said that he would like to see Barabanov, a free agent this summer, return next season: “I think that that line works together, I think that he’s a guy that provides offense and, you know, this is a team that could use that. Now, I’m not on the business side, the numbers side, so that’s a different story but yeah, I like him as a player.”
The first goal of the game came from Jasper Weatherby and the Sharks’ all-rookie fourth line at 6:03. Sasha Chmelevski carried the puck in and around a defender before taking a shot. Scott Reedy picked up the rebound and sent it back at the net for Weatherby to redirect in.
The Blackhawks out-shot the Sharks 9-4 in the first period. They also beat them in the face-off circle, winning 56% of the draws.
Tomas Hertl made it 2-0 at 1:08 of the second period. Timo Meier carried the puck into the zone two-on-one with Hertl and made the pass just above the circle. Goalie Kevin Lankinen could not get across in time to stop Hertl’s shot. Assists went to Meier and Jaycob Megna.
Timo Meier added a third for the Sharks at 10:34. Meier and Alexander Barabanov entered the zone only to be blocked by Blackhawks. Meier pushed the puck through Alex Vlasic to Barabanov, who had to battle Seth Jones for control of the puck. Barabanov managed to move the puck to the net and Meier caught up to it at the corner of the net where he tapped it in with an outstretched stick.
Tyler Johnson broke the shut-out at 15:38. Jonathan Toews got away from Megna behind the net and made a backhand pass from just below the goal line. The pass got to Johnson up the slot for a clear shot. Assists went to Toews and Seth Jones.
The first penalty of the game came in the second period, and it went to the Blackhawks. The Sharks power play got one shot and gave up one short-handed shot. Chicago again out-shot the Sharks, 10-7, and beat them on the draw, winning 57% of the face-offs.
Nick Bonino scored on the power play to make it 4-1 at 6:19 of the third. With Scott Reedy screening the goaltender, Bonino had some time to pick his spot through traffic. Assists went to Brent Burns and Logan Couture.
The third period saw more penalties, with two for each team. The Sharks power play got the goal and three shots. Their penalty kill gave up three shots and had one short-handed shot. The final shot count was 28-19 Blackhawks and the final face-off tally was 28-18 Blackhawks.
The Sharks next play on Sunday in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights at 7:00 PM PT.