The San Jose Sharks responded to a couple of difficult losses as good teams do and completely manhandled the Chicago Blackhawks en route to a 4-2 victory. San Jose’s vaunted power play came up empty, but the other areas picked up the slack.
“When the power play isn’t going, others have to step up,” said Curtis Brown. “We chipped in shorthanded and even strength.”
Still the power play looked much better and controlled the zone.
“The power play moved the puck around really well tonight,” Curtis Brown.
The Sharks know they didn’t fix everything in one night.
“We were hungry and pressuring the puck,” said Ryane Clowe
. “We still have work to do, but we’ll take the two (points).”
Brown was a big contributor, knocking in the second goal of the game. Chasing down a puck in the offensive zone, Brown outworked a pursuing defender and knocked the puck in with his backhand.
“The guys were giving me a hard time saying my backhand was better than my forehand,” said Brown.
Vesa Toskala allowed just two Chicago tallies, inching the Sharks even closer to league leading New Jersey in the chase for the William Jennings Trophy for the least goals allowed in the league. Toskala has not suffered a regulation defeat in his last nine starts.
“They got a couple of scoring chances on two-on-ones and it was important to make those saves,” said Toskala. “I wasn’t happy with the couple of goals they scored. The first went under my arm and the second I was running out and lost my balance. Other than that I felt good.”
Where Toskala truly excelled was offensively where he became the first Sharks netminder to register two assists in one game.
“It was nice, but it wasn’t like I scored a goal,” said Toskala. “I got my goal in Europe.”
Toskala now has as many or more points than four Sharks skaters. He is the first goaltender in the NHL to record a multi-point game since Feb. 1, 2006 when Ilya Bryzgalov had two assists for Anaheim against the Sharks. The record for most points in a game by a goaltender is three by Calgary’s Jeff Reese on Feb. 10, 1993 against San Jose in Calgary.
On the other end of the ice, Nikolai Khabibulin was the only thing that kept Chicago in the game when San Jose was humming along in the first period.
“We didn’t want to get a game where a goalie like Legace or Luongo stole it from us,” said Clowe of San Jose’s recent misfortunes.
Clowe was absolutely robbed on the doorstep once by Khabibulin.
“It was a great save,” said Clowe. “The puck came back to me quickly and he got over. I thought it was in.”
With his game-winner, Patrick Marleau
now has nine on the season, which leads the entire NHL. He also leads the Sharks with 27 goals.
However, the goal which brought everyone out of there seats came from Milan Michalek who had not scored in five contests. On the play, Michalek sped behind the defense and tooled Khabibulin.
“It was nice to see Milan score the goal,” said Ron Wilson. “He hasn’t played very well recently, but tonight he had the wheels going and was forcing the issue on the boards. Just that type of speed is intimidating.”
Marcel Goc’s opening goal was the Sharks fourth short-handed tally of the season.
HAPPY AT HOME
The game marked the 15th consecutive home sellout for the Sharks this season. They have sold out 24 of 29 home games.
BLACKHAWKS HEAD COACH, DENIS SAVARD:
“San Jose has a lot of good players and they are the best team we’ve played by far this year.”
“They just came off a couple of losses and we had a tough time matching their intensity.”
“They have good size and they have good speed. They played a good game down low and they took it to us.”
The Sharks won’t play again until Tuesday when they play the first of a home-and-road back-to-back with Anaheim. Limited tickets are still available