Chicago Blackhawks: San Jose Sharks

Notes: Hawks expect Sharks to be fired up

February, 1, 2014
Feb 1
3:57
PM CT
By Dave Fowkes | Special to ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Chicago Blackhawks seven-game road trip continues Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks will try to build off their 5-2 win over Vancouver on Wednesday night that snapped a four-game losing streak.

After two days off, the Blackhawks hope to have a fresh attitude and fresh legs to attack a wounded Sharks team.

 Jonathan Toews
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty ImagesHawks captain Jonathan Toews knows that the Sharks are always a dangerous team, especially at home.
San Jose has lost three straight and scored just one goal during the losing streak.

“They are a dangerous team coming off of two tough (road) losses,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They have a lot of weapons on their team and they like to attack and have a good power play. We need to be ready to start and make sure our minds are in the right place knowing that the most important part of this game is going to be the first ten minutes.”

Captain Jonathan Toews also expects a fired up Sharks team tonight.

“They are always dangerous, especially at home,” said Toews. “So we will be ready for them to come out hard in the first period like they always do."

Handzus returns: Michal Handzus will make his return to San Jose for the first time since being traded from the Sharks to Chicago last year for a fourth-round draft choice.

Handzus has been around enough teams in the NHL that he can’t get the revenge factor going against every former team.

“Maybe there is a little bit extra because I played here last year. I have been in the league so long you just prepare for the game in a normal way but obviously you want to play well.”

Handzus has four goals and seven assists this year for Chicago.

(Read full post)

Sharks contain Hawks' O, end Chicago skid

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
11:33
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Most teams haven’t gotten away with allowing 35 shots on goal to the Chicago Blackhawks this season, but it was about quality over quantity for the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

The Blackhawks, despite having the league’s most potent offense, were held in check for most of Sunday’s game. The Sharks limited Chicago’s transition opportunities and often forced their foe to shoot from range. San Jose was rewarded for its defensive effort with a 3-2 shootout win at the United Center.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Shaw
Bill Smith/NHLI/Getty Images

The Blackhawks failed to defend home ice against the Sharks for the first time in more than three years, losing to San Jose in a shootout on Sunday.

Sunday’s result was much more to the liking of Sharks coach Todd McLellan than his team’s 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago on Nov. 17.

“It was the best defensive effort we’ve had in this building in a while,” McLellan said. “We talked about it before the game. When you feed their transition, which is their biggest strength, you get yourself in a lot of trouble.

“It’s hard to demand perfection, but you have to demand as close as you can get to that. The players tonight gave us that. It was still a tough task. To score only two and win a game against Chicago, you’ve done something really well.”

It was the Sharks’ first victory in Chicago since Dec. 30, 2010.

The Sharks especially concentrated on not giving Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks’ top two goal scores, much space and keeping them away from high-percentage shooting areas. Sharp and Kane combined for 12 shots on goal, but Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock had an easy time with most of their chances.

Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg credited the Sharks’ defense for limiting Chicago’s chances. Versteeg had just one shot on goal.

“They’re a team that doesn’t like to give you much space with the puck,” Versteeg said. “They also like to hold the puck. They can come at you both ways.”

From Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford’s perspective, the Sharks were as good defensively as anyone Chicago has faced this season.

“It was a tough game,” said Crawford, who made 40 saves. “They played us pretty hard defensively. Probably the toughest game we’ve had to face a team playing defense. We were able to still come back. That’s what I like our team -- the character. We never give up. We always know we have a chance.”

The Blackhawks were goalless after two periods, but they did break free to post two goals in the first 4:01 of the third period. Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson moved up into the play to net the first goal, and Michal Rozsival scored the second with a shot from near the blue line. The Blackhawks couldn’t find a third goal, though, and the game eventually was decided in the shootout.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thought the Sharks’ defense deserved credit for the way they played.

“They checked well,” Quenneville said. “They were very patient in their game. They got the lead and they were sitting back and getting things out of their end. They got inside and we were outside for most of the game. They played a good game.”

Rapid Reaction: Sharks 3, Hawks 2 (SO)

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
10:12
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the San Jose Sharks’ 3-2 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday.

How it happened: The Sharks outscored the Blackhawks 2-0 in the shootout for the victory. The Blackhawks trailed 1-0 after two periods, following a first-period goal by the Sharks’ Jason Demers. But they tied the game and took the lead by scoring twice in the first 4:01 of the third period. Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson accounted for the first goal, and defenseman Michal Rozsival scored the second. Brent Burns tied the game at 2-2 with a Sharks’ goal at 11:10 of the third period. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 40 saves, and Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock had 30 saves.

What it means: The Blackhawks fell to 4-6 in shootouts and 29-7-9 overall on the season. The Sharks improved to 27-10-6. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville showed his displeasure with forward Bryan Bickell by playing him just nine shifts and 5:20 of ice time. The Blackhawks on Sunday enjoyed their 250th consecutive sellout (including playoff games) at the United Center,.

Player of the game: Crawford tallied those 40 saves in his second game back from injury.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks didn’t have a single power play for the first time all season. The Blackhawks were on the penalty kill once.

What’s next: The Blackhawks remain home and host the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Hawks enjoy watching while waiting

May, 12, 2013
5/12/13
11:46
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will be tuned into Game 7 between the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night like most NHL diehard fans.

They’ll just be doing so a little more closely.

Sunday’s result will decide which team the Blackhawks play in their Western Conference semifinal. If the Red Wings win, they will face the Blackhawks. If the Ducks win, the Hawks will meet the San Jose Sharks.

(Read full post)

Hawks' first-round foe still up in air

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
3:28
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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The Chicago Blackhawks, who stood atop ESPN's NHL Power Rankings again Monday, recently assured themselves of the top spot in the Western Conference, but the identity of their first-round foe is still unknown.

The Blackhawks could still play one of seven teams in the first round. With one week remaining in the regular season, the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes are all potential opening-round opponents for the Blackhawks.

Here's a closer look at all seven potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.

San Jose, 24-14-17, 55 points (currently fifth place): 16 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Dallas on Tuesday, at Phoenix on Wednesday, at Los Angeles on Saturday), best case (61 points, fourth place), worst case (55 points, out of the playoffs)

St. Louis, 26-17-2, 54 points (currently sixth place): 21 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Colorado on Tuesday, vs. Calgary on Thursday, vs. Blackhawks on Saturday), best case (60 points, fourth place), worst case (54 points, out of the playoffs)

Minnesota, 24-18-3, 51 points (currently seventh place): 20 ROW, three games remaining (vs. Los Angeles on Tuesday, vs. Edmonton Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, win the Northwest Division, third place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)

Columbus, 22-7-7, 51 points (currently eighth place): 17 ROW, two games remaining (at Dallas on Thursday, vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, fifth place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)

Detroit, 20-16-8, 48 points: 18 ROW, four games remaining (vs. Phoenix on Monday, vs. Los Angeles on Wednesday, vs. Nashville on Thursday, at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, fifth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)

Dallas, 22-19-4, 48 points: 20 ROW, three games remaining (at San Jose on Tuesday, vs. Columbus on Thursday, vs. Detroit on Saturday), best case (54 points, sixth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)

Phoenix, 19-17-8, 46 points: 15 ROW, four games remaining (at Detroit on Monday, vs. San Jose on Wednesday, vs. Colorado on Friday, at Anaheim on Saturday), best case (54 points, seventh place), worst case (46 points, out of the playoffs)

A look at Blackhawks' and Ducks' schedules

March, 23, 2013
3/23/13
2:21
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks are likely going to finish first and second in the Western Conference because no other team is within 10 points of either of them with less than 20 games remaining.

Which order the Blackhawks and Ducks finish in likely won’t be determined until the season’s final week. The Blackhawks currently hold a three-point advantage on the Ducks with both teams having 18 games left.

Here’s a look at how both teams’ schedules play out for the remainder of the regular season:
  • The Blackhawks and Ducks will meet for the final time in the regular season in Chicago on Friday. The Ducks have defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout and 4-2 in regulation this season. The Blackhawks led both games after two periods.
  • The most difficult part of the Blackhawks’ remaining schedule will likely be their back-to-back games. They have six sets of back-to-backs remaining. Four of those include playing one game on the road and one at home. The Ducks have four sets of back-to-backs left, but all four include playing in the same city in both games.
  • What could present a problem for the Ducks’ schedule is how they will play multiple teams consecutive times. They played the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and will again in their next game on Sunday. They play the San Jose Sharks on March 25 and 27, the Dallas Stars on April 1, 3 and 5 and the Edmonton Oilers on April 21 and 22.
  • The Blackhawks have 11 of their remaining 18 games at the United Center where they own an 11-1-1 home record. They don’t have a remaining road trip longer than two games, but they do play three of their final four games on the road. Their toughest remaining road game will likely be at Minnesota on April 9. The Wild are 10-3-1 at home.
  • The Ducks will be at home for nine games and on the road for nine games. The Ducks do have two four-game road trips left. Four of their last five games are on the road.
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets have been the hottest team in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets are 8-0-2 in their past 10 games. The Ducks have two remaining games with the Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks have none.
  • The Blackhawks have eight remaining divisional games, including two against Detroit. The Red Wings are second in the Central with 35 points.
  • The Ducks also have eight remaining divisional games, including two with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are second in the Pacific with 36 points.
  • The Blackhawks have nine games remaining with teams currently in the playoffs, and the Ducks have seven such games. That probably won’t matter, though, as all seven teams not currently in the playoffs are within six points of being in the playoffs.

Hawks still only focused on next game

February, 23, 2013
2/23/13
12:13
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will enjoy Friday night the fact they set a new NHL record by registering a point in their first 17 games of the season.

They might even savor it some on Saturday because they have the day off.

But come Sunday when they play their next game, the Blackhawks plan to cease their celebration and return to the mentality that was key to them building their current 14-0-3 record.

“We’re taking one game at a time,” Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said following Friday’s 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. “I know it’s a boring cliché, but it’s actually how it is. It’s fun to break a record and be in the history books, but the big thing is the two points. As long as we can get points in the games here, we’re going to set ourselves up for the playoffs.

“I don’t think we’re in the playoffs yet. We got to keep winning games. I don’t think anyone is satisfied in here. We just got to keep playing as we are and keep believing in ourselves.”

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Hawks 2, Sharks 1

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
10:19
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' record-setting 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on Friday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks broke a 1-1 tie in the third period when Brandon Saad scored a shorthanded goal at 2:24. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill showed throughout Friday’s win why it’s been among the league’s best this season. The Blackhawks killed off all four of the Sharks’ power plays. Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with a goal in the final minute of the opening period. Blackhawks winger Viktor Stalberg tied the game with a goal in the second period. Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery made 26 saves and improved to 7-0-0 on the year.

Player of the game: Saad has scored just three career goals, but they have all been memorable. His shorthanded goal Friday proved to be the difference for the Blackhawks and helped them make history.

What it means: The Blackhawks set a new NHL record for consecutive games with a point to start a season as they extended their points streak to 17 games. They were previously tied with the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks. The Blackhawks improved to 14-0-3 and a NHL-best 31 points.

What’s next: The Blackhawks continue their seven-game homestand with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. The Blackhawks have two games remaining on the homestand.

Blackhawks' point streak breakdown

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
10:08
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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Nick Leddy Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsNick Leddy and the Blackhawks set a season-starting record Friday, earning a point in their 17th straight game.


CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks set a new NHL record for the longest points streak to start a season as they extended their streak to 17 games with a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

Here’s a breakdown of how they reached the mark:

No. 1: 5-2 win vs. Los Angeles Kings, Jan. 19: The Blackhawks set the tone for the season in the opener and ruined the Kings’ Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony by jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Marian Hossa scored two goals and dished out an assist in his first game back since suffering a head injury in the previous season’s playoffs.

No. 2: 6-4 win vs. the Phoenix Coyotes, Jan. 20: This is the only game this season in which the Blackhawks allowed more than three goals. The Blackhawks offense made up for the team’s defensive and goaltending struggles. The Blackhawks scored three times in the second period, and twice more in the third period for the victory. Hossa and Dave Bolland each scored twice.

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Blackhawks inspired by Toews' action

February, 15, 2013
2/15/13
11:56
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews wasn’t going to leave San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton alone until he got a fight Friday.

Their bad blood began last season when Thornton pushed Toews after a whistle, and it spilled over into their first meeting earlier this month and again Friday. Come the final minutes of the first period Friday, Toews had finally had enough of Thornton and his bullying ways.

With the Blackhawks defending their own net, Toews skated up to Thornton in the right corner and knocked him from behind into the boards. Thornton fell to his knees from the impact, and an official lifted his arm to signal an impending penalty on Toews. As Thornton was still on the ground, Toews pushed him four more times and then skated away.

Seconds later, the two ended up near the left corner, and Toews wasn’t done with Thornton. Toews pushed him three more times and then grabbed for Thornton’s shoulder. At that point, Thornton was game. The two captains dropped their gloves, danced together and threw a handful of punches before it was broken up after nearly 20 seconds.

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Hawks-Sharks didn't disappoint

February, 6, 2013
2/06/13
11:41
AM CT
Custance By Craig Custance
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It might be a little too soon to call it a Western Conference finals preview, but the much-anticipated game between the Sharks and Blackhawks, who are both off to fast starts this season, didn’t disappoint. With goals from Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels in the first 5:18, the Sharks had an early lead, but the scoring was far from over. By the time the period was completed, there were six goals total. Patrick Kane’s fifth and sixth goals of the season later in the game won it for the Blackhawks, 5-3. It was a game that featured offense, a major penalty that shouldn’t have been a major penalty (Andrew Desjardins’ match penalty for a hit on Jamal Mayers has already been overruled) and ultimately another Blackhawks win. Chicago now has a three-point lead on San Jose atop the Western Conference standings.

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Hawks celebrate Saad's first goal

February, 6, 2013
2/06/13
9:50
AM CT
By Staff
ESPNChicago.com
Brandon Saad Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesBrandon Saad couldn't hide the emotions after scoring his first NHL goal.
If Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Brandon Saad's career is anything like scouts have projected for him, he'll become accustomed to scoring NHL goals pretty soon.

But for one night, there wasn't any bigger thrill in the world for Saad than scoring an NHL goal.

With just past 10 minutes expired in the first period of Tuesday's game against the San Jose Sharks, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook back-handed the puck to Saad at the bottom of the right circle. Saad dropped down to his left knee, swung his stick and sent the puck into the top right corner of the net.

The goal was the first of Saad's 13-game career, and the 20-year-old acted accordingly. A wide smile broke out over his face, and he threw his arms over his head. He then skidded on one knee behind the net and windmill-punched his right arm into the air.

Saad explained after the Blackhawks' 5-3 win that his celebration wasn't in any way premeditated. It was simply his emotions traveling through him.

"I was pretty excited, so whatever came to mind," Saad said.

Marian Hossa was Saad's first teammate to embrace him and give him a pat on the helmet. Jonathan Toews was second, and rest of the line followed.

The bench was just as ecstatic for Saad, who had entered Tuesday's game with 19 career shots on goal and had just missed on a couple opportunities this season.

"I think everybody in here is happy for him," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "He's had chances. It was going to happen sooner or later."

Moments after the on-ice celebration, Saad was caught by the television camera with a wide grin as he re-watched his goal on the stadium's scoreboard. He also carried a smile when he took a picture with the puck following the game.

It was a monumental moment for Saad, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was just as pleased for him. Quenneville has praised Saad's play throughout the season even though Saad hasn't had the numbers to show for it.

"It was matter of time," said Quenneville, who put Saad on the first line after Daniel Carcillo suffered an injury in the season opener. "He's been special for us. That line has been dangerous and effective. He does so many things instead of the production. He doesn't have much to reflect on that, but his play has been just the way you want it to be.

"Eventually, he's going to score. Hopefully one day, he breaks out because he compliments the other two guys (Hossa and Toews) and they compliment him, and it's been a real good line for us."

Power Rankings: No. 2 Hawks to face No. 1

February, 4, 2013
2/04/13
5:38
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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No one has started the 2013 season hotter than the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks, who are No. 1 and No. 2 in this week’s ESPN NHL Power Rankings.

On Tuesday, the two teams will square off in one of the more intriguing matchups of the young season.

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Hawks earn No. 6 playoff seed

April, 7, 2012
4/07/12
3:06
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
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DETROIT -- The Chicago Blackhawks' shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday earned them a No. 6 seed and a first-round playoff matchup with the winner of the Pacific Division, which will be determined later Saturday night.

Despite losing the game, the Red Wings will be the No. 5 seed, finishing the season with 102 points to the Blackhawks' 101. The Hawks were 47 seconds away from a regulation win -- and one more point in the standings -- which would have earned them the No. 5 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker. Instead, the Red Wings will play the No. 4 seed Nashville Predators in the opening round.

Read the entire story.

Playoff update: Four potential foes

April, 7, 2012
4/07/12
10:45
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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DETROIT -- All 30 NHL teams will be in action on the final day of the regular season Saturday and, finally, the playoff picture will be set. The only game on Friday that affected the Western Conference race saw the Phoenix Coyotes beating the St. Louis Blues, 4-1, vaulting the Coyotes back into first place -- and the No. 3 seed -- in the Pacific Division.

Here are the playoff scenarios facing the Chicago Blackhawks as they take on the Detroit Red Wings Saturday afternoon. Keep in mind the first tie-breaker is total non-shootout wins by each club and the second tie-breaker is total points earned in the head-to-head series between the two teams.

If the Hawks beat the Wings in regulation:

The Hawks will earn the No. 5 seed by virtue of the second tie-breaker. Both Chicago and Detroit will have 101 points and 39 non-shootout victories but the Hawks will have more points in the head-to-head season series so they would earn the No. 5 seed and would play Nashville in the opening round of the playoffs. That series would begin in Nashville on either Wednesday or Thursday.

If the Hawks beat the Wings in overtime or a shootout OR lose to Detroit:

Chicago will be the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and play the winner of the Pacific Division to be determined later on Saturday.

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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26