The San Jose Sharks were back in action Wednesday night when they played host to the Chicago Blackhawks. San Jose sent Vesa Toskala to the net to square off against Craig Anderson in what turned out to be a tight netminding matchup that saw Toskala come out on top in the 2-1 victory.
The Sharks started the game on the offensive, as they put three shots on Anderson within the first minute of the game, but none that made the crowd erupt.
The crowd did erupt however when Toskala made his first big save of the night. A hard wrister on goal by Tyler Arnason was deflected off the skate of Scott Hannan and in the netminders direction. The puck trickled by Toskala and looked to be by him, but fortunately he had enough time to reach back and make the diving save, keeping the game scoreless.
Chicago committed the first penalty of the night when Jassen Cullimore was sent to the box for hooking 13 minutes into the first. Marcel Goc nearly gave the Sharks the lead when he tried to go top shelf, but his backhanded shot was swatted away by Anderson right as the penalty expired. Patrick Marleau
would end the shutout with just under three minutes left in the first. A loose puck in front of the net was corralled by the center after Steve Bernier made a solid play down low. Marleau had a wide open top shelf, as Anderson hit the ice after Bernier’s attempts and Marleau lifted it past him.
Not even a minute later, the Sharks lit the lamp again. Tom Preissing wristed a shot that was initially deflected by Jonathan Cheechoo before Joe Thornton
redirected it past Anderson. The goal kept the HP Pavilion crowd buzzing and gave the Sharks the 2-0 lead.
With five seconds left in the first, Mark Bell was whistled for holding. The Sharks would carry their 2-0 lead into the first intermission, out-shooting Chicago 16-5.
The Sharks had 1:55 of power play time when they came back out on the ice. With 24 seconds left in Bell’s penalty, Kyle Calder was called for high-sticking Jonathan Cheechoo and the Sharks had a brief five-on-three. Both penalties expired, however, without another tally for Team Teal.
Midway through the second period, San Jose was still dominating Chicago in the shots category, leading 27-9.
With just over nine minutes left in the frame, San Jose went on their fourth power play of the night when Rene Bourque was penalized for tripping. The two minutes expired, but not before the Sharks put heavy pressure on Anderson.
It would be Chicago who scored next when Calder drove the net hard, fighting off two Sharks defensemen and poking it over Toskala’s left shoulder. The Sharks lead was now shrunk to one.
San Jose got called for their first penalty of the night when Josh Gorges received a double-minor for high-sticking Matthew Barnaby. Just over a minute into their advantage, Calder was called for hooking. All the penalties expired without a change in score and the teams headed to the locker room shortly thereafter.
It was just over six minutes into the third before the fans saw any real action and that came in the way of a brief scrap between Scott Thornton and Jim Vandermeer
. The result of the quarrel was a two minute penalty to Thornton for roughing. Chicago couldn’t capitalize on their advantage as the Sharks went back to full strength.
Chicago managed to keep the puck in San Jose’s end for the majority of the third, but the stingy defense wouldn’t budge.
The Sharks took just their third penalty of the night with 4:46 left in the game when Niko Dimitrakos was called for hooking. Toskala made three consecutive saves early in the penalty kill. But it was San Jose who would have the best opportunity of the two minutes as Mark Smith and Milan Michalek led a two-on-one. Michalek ripped a shot on goal that slipped by Anderson, but the netminder reached back and made the last second save, keeping the Sharks lead at one.
Anderson was pulled for the extra attacker, but it would not matter was the final whistle blew with San Jose earning a valuable two points with the 2-1 victory.
The were some extra curricular activities after the game as Scott Thornton and Jim Vandermeer had an extended fight with the Sharks forward taking the decision.
The Sharks will play host to the Dallas Stars Friday night at HP Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations. The game can be seen on FSN Bay Area and heard on the Sharks Radio Network at sjsharks.com.