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Sharks' PP comes up empty down stretch

by Dan Rosen /
CHICAGO -- The game was not lost in the third period when San Jose went scoreless in six minutes of power-play time, but that glass-half-full philosophy was not how the Sharks chose to look at their missed opportunities.

"It definitely would have been helpful if we scored," Joe Pavelski said.

Had the Sharks scored just one goal over those three power plays, we might be talking about a brand new series right now instead of one that looks just about over after Chicago's stirring 3-2 overtime win Friday night at the United Center.

Just one power-play goal within that span of 12 minutes and 13 seconds, and maybe the Sharks wouldn't be facing elimination Sunday afternoon.

"If there was a part of our game that we have to go back and improve, we had opportunities the third period on the power play where we could have either got the lead or established ourselves in the game, and we didn't do that," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Remember, they're a very good penalty-killing team. They've gotten this far because of it."

The Sharks had six shots over those three advantages, but as he was all night, Chicago goalie Antti Niemi was great. Not only that, 30 seconds after he busted out of the penalty box, Hawks center Dave Bolland got free on a breakaway and scored the go-ahead goal.

But that was 30 seconds after the Sharks had three times as many opportunities as Chicago had in the third period to grab command of the game.

"There were some loose pucks hanging around in dangerous situations and we either got to them or the save was made by Antti, who was large," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We got through it a couple times and were fortunate."

First, Duncan Keith, a key man on the Hawks' penalty kill, went off for hooking Joe Thornton at 22 seconds. The Sharks had three shots and another three blocked.

Dustin Byfuglien was whistled for tripping Dany Heatley at 6:08. San Jose got off two shots and had two more blocked.
Finally, Bolland, one of Chicago's best penalty killers, was guilty of the same tripping infraction on Patrick Marleau at 10:35. This time the Sharks had only one shot on goal, and one more that was blocked.

"We had a lot of opportunities, and no doubt special teams is a big part of the game and the series," Pavelski said. "It would have been nice to get one there and get the lead there. There were a few errant passes that you'd like to have back, but that's the game."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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