Blackhawks Score Early, Often vs. Sharks
By Harvey Wittenberg
Rookie defenseman Brent Seabrook tied a team record and Pavel Vorobiev added 2 goals and an assist as Chicago whipped San Jose Friday night 6-3 at the United Center for their first win of the young season.
The Hawks stunned the Sharks 29 seconds into the game when defenseman Jim Vandermeer fired a 45-footer into the upper left corner of the net past goalie Vesa Toskala. The Hawks then took control by scoring two power play goals 90 seconds apart while San Jose had two players in the penalty box. Tuomo Ruutu got his first goal of the season, taking a pass from Curtis Brown on a 10-footer at 5:51. Tyler Arnason got a great feed from Vorobiev to earn his first goal, giving Chicago a 3-0 lead while outshooting the visitors 8 to 1 at that point.
Chicago made it 4-0 at 1:49 of the 2nd period on another power play when Seabrook fed Jassen Cullimore, who blasted a 40-footer to end Toskala's night; Evgeni Nabokov replaced Toskala in net. The Sharks scored on a power play when Marco Sturm knocked in a rebound, but Vorobiev made it 5-1 at 8:45 when he moved around the defense to beat Nabokov on a nifty play.
Vorobiev notched his second of the night 93 seconds into the 3rd period when he took a pass from Seabrook and fired a 25-footer into the upper right corner to make it 6-3. It was Seabrook's 4th point and assist of the game, tying a team record for rookie assists and points in a game. The assist mark was last tied by Chicago-area native Mark Lavarre in 1987 and the point total was last tied by Mark Bell four years ago. For Vorobiev, it was his first goals on home ice. His only previous NHL goal was in Los Angeles in October, 2003.
The Sharks added two more 3rd period goals, one by Kyle McLaren on a rebound at 2:01 and on a power play at 17:26 by Milan Michalek.
Hawk captain Adrian Aucoin suffered a slight groin pull early in the 1st period and left the game, while veteran Eric Daze had a back problem during the pre-game warmup and sat out the contest.
Coach Trent Yawney praised the way his team responded against the Sharks, who are considered one of the elite teams in the Western Conference. He credited his assistant coaches Denis Savard and Bruce Cassidy for their work with the special teams that resulted in three power play goals in seven chances.
"Vorobiev is just starting to evolve and is a world class player," Yawney said.
Chicago is now 1-1 while San Jose fell to 0-2. The Hawks outshot the visitors 26-24. Rookie defenseman Duncan Keith led all skaters with 27 1/2 minutes of ice time.
The Blackhawks wind up their three-game homestand Sunday night (6 pm) at the United Center against Central Division rival Columbus.
San Jose Comments
#35 Vesa Toskala, G
"It is always hard five on three. They scored their two goals and the game was basically over after that. I have to do a better job of finding the puck from behind the players."
#7 Brad Stuart, D
"We have to do a better job. Sure they scored 30 seconds in to it, but I think we kind of let that affect us a little more than we should have. That is going to happen sometimes and we have to have the ability to shake it off and to move on and it just went from there. We stopped doing things that normally we do and made it easy for them to get a lot of chances.
On getting a misconduct after what he thought was a no-call slew foot:
"I don't appreciate being put into that position where I could have broke something very easily. We saw it last year with Marco (Sturm) and to not have a call on that play I don't understand it. I was just upset and I probably let it get to me a little more than I should have; that is my fault."
Head Coach Ron Wilson
"This wasn't exactly the start we wanted. The first shot went in, we missed an assignment and then we got ourselves in penalty trouble. We had the high-stick four minutes, then we shot the puck over the glass and we are down five on three. The bad luck of it is was that it was an extended five on three and that was basically the ballgame right there. We ran around chasing our tails and unfortunately it took us 40 minutes to settle down before we started playing our game, which is skating and supporting each other and not standing around and watching."
| |1. P. Vorobiev
| |2. B. Seabrook
| |3. J. Vandermeer