It was a big night for the Sharks as they exploded for a 7-1 win against Chicago Tuesday night. With the Sharks holding a commanding third period lead, the early question was whether Nabokov would earn his fourth shutout in five contests, but a late Chicago tally changed that. Then another late tally created a hat trick story.
With 13 seconds remaining in regulation, and two goals already in hand, Bill Guerin skated in alone on Chicago netminder Patrick Lalime. Guerin could not bury the puck, but a penalty shot was signaled and Guerin was called upon for his first career penalty shot.
“It was the first of my career so I was surprised,” said Guerin who now has 31 tallies on the season. “I’ll take that result. It felt really good.”
The tally marked his first hat trick since accomplishing feat earlier this year against San Jose.
For the 16-year NHL veteran, and former U.S. Olympian, it was a bit surprising to know that Guerin had a few butterflies in his stomach.
“I was a little nervous,” said Guerin.
Guerin’s Sharks teammates were happy to see him break the goal-scoring ice with his new club.
“It was just a matter of time,” said Joe Thornton. “I’m glad he got the big piano off his back.”
“It was getting a little ridiculous,” laughed Guerin about not scoring in teal until Tuesday.
The former Blues player also had an assist to make it a four-point night.
Guerin teamed with Mark Bell and Patrick Marleau to form a hefty trio that played physically with skill.
“I think I’m the smallest guy on the line,” noted Guerin.
“I thought they were great tonight,” said Thornton. “Obviously all four lines worked well.”
Bell’s tally was extra nice considering it was against his former club and he had been a healthy scratch recently.
“Bell played great,” said Guerin. “He’s been through a lot this year and we know that. We need him to play big.”
“I felt good with those guys,” said Bell.
THORNTON LINE ALSO BIG
Marleau’s line stole the headlines, but Joe Thornton’s line created three goals of their one. Thornton scored a tally of his own and added two assists, giving him 72 on the season, which trails only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. Thornton is sixth in the NHL’s scoring race with 89 points.
Thornton’s goal came when Scott Hannan launched a shot from the point that allowed the Sharks leading scorer to push in the rebound.
“They’ve been practicing that so much,” said Thornton. “They were getting the puck through tonight.”
“(The forwards) were making it difficult and did what they need to do – paying the price,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson.
JUST PLAIN HOT
The Sharks victory was their sixth in a row against Chicago and gave San Jose nine of the last 10 points available.
“It starts in goal and moves to the defensemen who are pushing the puck . . . it’s leading to goals,” said Wilson.
That hot goaltending has seen Nabokov allow just two regulation tallies in his last five starts. It would have been just one in five games if not for a late defensive turnover.
“He’s playing really well and is focused,” said Wilson.
The Sharks out shot Chicago 16-2 in the first period in building a 2-0 lead.
10 IN 11
With an assist in the first period, Matt Carle has now recorded ten points (4-6=10) in his last eleven games. He also extended his current point streak (1-2-3) to 3 games.
BLACKHAWKS HEAD COACH, DENIS SAVARD
“Everything is running right for them right now. They are a good team, as I said the last time we played them."
“Our players have to step up in a situation like this. We have a young group here and the veteran players needed to calm things down, and they didn’t. Give them credit they are a good team, we still have a ways to go and we will get there.”
San Jose will play in Phoenix on Thursday at 6 p.m. and the game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.