The Sharks played a disciplined game and stayed out of the box for the entire sixty minutes, while Chicago handed the Sharks five power plays.
San Jose ends up outshooting the Blackhawks 45-40 for the game and generated a number of chances, but Niemi was outstanding and clearly was the game's number one star. It's the fifth time in 12 playoff games the Sharks have fired at least 45 shots on net.
It's the seventh time in the playoffs the Sharks have had more power play opportunities that their opponent; only one game (Game Four at Detroit) have the Sharks been shorthanded more that their opponent.
20:00 Chicago hangs on and takes Game One 2-1. The Sharks controlled the puck in the Chicago zone for the most part during the final sequence with the best chance being a slahshot from Pavelski that was just deflected wide of the far post.
19:04 Versteeg is called for tripping Setoguchi as San Jose tried to enter the zone. With Nabby pulled, the Sharks will have a six-on-four to try and tie the game. The referees got the wrong guy as it was Bolland who really committed the penalty; little bit of a break for Chicago as Bolland is a strong face-off man and penalty killer
18:40 San Jose has pulled Nabokov for an extra attacker.
18:03 Sharks crank up the pressure looking for the equalizer and have used an aggressive forecheck.
13:15 Face-off win for the Blackhawks results in their first lead of the day. Toews wins the draw from Thornton in the San Jose zone, gets the puck to Kane along the right boards and finds Byfuglien for a one-timer from between the circles that beats Nabokov glove side. Well executed by Chicago on the face-off play. CHI GOAL: Byfuglien (5) A: Kane (9), Toews (15) at 13:15
11:32 Nice chance for Mitchell in the slot is steered into the corner by Niemi. Let's see if the Sharks can capitalize on two straight icings by the Hawks.
9:00 Couture line gets good pressure on Niemi and nice play by Couture to get the puck deep knowing a big hit from Byfuglien was coming.
8:04 Interesting to see how Quenneville handles the line changes on the road and will continually change his skaters after draws to try and get favorable match-ups.
7:10 Shots are 5-4 Chicago so far in the third period with plenty of end to end rushes. Boyle has made some outstanding plays, some of which go unnoticed. He is so crafty and relentless. Whether it's clearing the zone or carrying the puck in, he has to be so frustrating to play against.
4:36 Both teams really have turned it up in the third and are playing well. Exciting hockey!
0:00 Pavelski's line will start the third period against the Toews line.
20:00 Talk about a sea-saw period, after two perods we are tied at one. After the Blackhawks oushot the Sharks 12-1 during a stretch, San Jose took the last 12 shots of the period. San Jose really poured it on over the final six minutes of the period and Niemi had to make several key saves to keep the game tied. Through two periods shots are 31-22 San Jose and the Sharks end up outshooting the Hawks 18-14 in the second period. The Sharks have played a smart, disciplined first forty minutes and have won 59% of the face-offs. Keith played over half the period for Chicago and now leads all skaters in ice time (18:23), while Boyle continues to lead San Jose (16:23).
19:25 Sharks have taken the last 11 shots and have cranked the pressure back up, aided by the power play.
16:01 Seabrook exits the box and the Blackhawks have killed off the power play. Real strong effort by the Sharks who had seven shots on the power play.
15:48 Tremendous sprawling save by Niemi off a backhand from Clowe low right side.
14:01 Blatant hold by Seabrook in the neutral zone on Huskins, just grabbed the back of his jersey around the collar from behind chasing after a loose puck in the neutral zone. Not a smart play for the Blackhawks, a bad penalty as it was completely obvious to everyone and really an unnecessary. Sharks will take it and go back on the power play.
13:19 Chicago has taken 12 of the last 13 shots, as Nabokov has been real solid.
12:58 Tough save from Nabokov as he denied Campbell's slapshot from the high slot through a screen.
12:11 Good shift from the Thornton line as the Sharks try and get the momentum back.
10:22 Chicago has taken the last six shots, but the Sharks still have an 18-16 advantage. It's clear the Blackhawks have picked up their play over the last six minutes or so.
7:44 An odd man, three-on-two Chicago rush ends up in the back of the net tying the game at one. Keith carried the puck across the line left side and dropped the puck to Sharp. Sharp fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that appeared to hit Murray and knuckled, beating Nabokov five-hole. CHI GOAL: Sharp (6) A: Keith (6), Brouwer (1) at 7:44
6:04 Shots are 5-2 San Jose in the period and 18-10 for the game, with the Sharks winning 17 of the 26 draws.
5:23 Two outstanding chances for the Thornton line, but it's still a 1-0 game. First Thornton trying to gain control of the puck with Niemi down and out of position is thwarted by Seabrook knocking Thornton over and into Niemi. Next, a one-timer from Marleau inside the left circle was gloved and held onto by Niemi.
4:31 Nice save by Niemi off a tip from the crease by Setoguchi off a tremendous pass by Clowe in the left corner.
0:50 Two good opportunites early in the second period for Setoguchi and Pavelski are kept out of the Chicago net.
0:00 Pavelski's line starts the second period against the Toews line.
20:00 An outstanding first period for the Sharks ends with San Jose leading 1-0, seems like the extended lay off between series had no bearing on the start. The Sharks outshot the Blackhawks 13-8 in the first and had a slight edge in draws at 11-9, with Pavelski winning four of his five. Boyle led all skaters in ice time, gobbling up nearly half of the period (9:23), while Seabrook led Chicago (8:48).
18:30 Best chance to this point for Chicago, but Nabokov was up to the task and got a little lucky. Kane speeding around the San Jose zone found Toews in the slot and his turnaround wrister along the ice found the pad of Nabby and the post stick-side to keep it a 1-0 game.
17:47 Sharp heads back onto the ice and the Blackhawks have killed off the penalty. Another solid power play by the Sharks.
16:05 Great chance by Heatley on a one-timer from the slot off a feed from Marleau; but it's blockered away by Niemi.
15:47 Sharks are rewarded for their hard work again and draw the third straight Chicago penalty. Sharp is called for high-sticking Mitchell as the Sharks speedy forward was driving toward the net in the Blackhawk zone from the right corner.
11:19 Sharks strike first and take advantage of the man advantage. The Sharks were just able to keep the puck in the zone at the high slot as Boyle did a nice job of walking the line. Demers fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that deflected off Keith and went in passed Niemi high stick-side. The puck glanced off Keith just enough for it to change directions slightly and throw off Niemi. It was the first goal for a Sharks defenseman since Game Six of the Colorado series and the empty netter by Murray to put the series away. SJ PP GOAL: Demers (1) A: Marleau (5), Boyle (8) at 11:19
10:36 Sharks get their second power play of the first period as Byfuglien is called for interference on Vlasic at the San Jose blueline as the Hawks were trying to carry the puck in.
10:06 Big glove save by Nabokov on Versteeg. Versteeg brought the puck into the San Jose zone and fired a wrister from the top of the left circle through a screen, but Nabby with a brilliant glove save on a shot picked for the top corner.
8:36 Shots are 6-3 Sharks and San Jose has won five of the first six face-offs.
6:02 Thornton's line with a strong rush as Big Joe with a steal in the San Jose zone, hustles up the right side to the Chicago zone. Thornton's cross-ice feed for Marleau with a re-direction at the left edge of the crease is padded away by Niemi, who knocks the net off in the process.
5:31 Nabokov with his best save in the early going after Couture turns the puck over in the San Jose zone. Couture gave it to Toews at the top of the right circle, and Toews fired a wrist shot that was turned aside by Nabby.
4:50 Madden exits the box after a pretty solid Sharks power play.
2:50 Sharks will get the first power play of the series as Madden is called for holding McGinn in the neutral zone. Madden is one of the Blackhawks best penalty killers so there in an added bonus for San Jose.
1:20 Pavelski line with a really strong first shift; swarming around Niemi with the best chance a wrap around try from Setoguchi skating from right to left behind the net.
0:00 First of all, it's ridiculously loud inside HP Pavilion; the fans are certainly fired up for Game One. Chicago will start the Bolland line with Hjalmarsson and Seabrook on defense. The first bit of the chess match as Joel Quenneville splits up his top defense pair to try and match-up with Todd McLellan. The Sharks will start the Couture line to set the tone for the series with Blake and Vlasic at the blueline.
11:55am San Jose will again, for the second straight game, dress seven defenseman and eleven forwards.
Dustin Byfuglien-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane Troy Brouwer-Patrick Sharp-Marian Hossa Kris Versteeg-Dave Bolland-Andrew Ladd Ben Eager-John Madden-Adam Burish
Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook Brian Campbell-Niklas Hjalmarsson Brent Sopel-Jordan Hendry
Scratches: Kim Johnsson, Nick Boynton, Bryan Bickell, Colin Fraser, Tomas Kopecky