Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Updated 1:30 AM
By Tracey Myers
SAN JOSE, Calif. The Chicago Blackhawks found so much success in Vancouver because they played strong with very few mistakes. Errors, especially the opportunistic ones, can be costly.
The San Jose Sharks reminded them of that on Wednesday night.
Blackhawks turnovers led to critical goals, and Antti Niemi got the victory against his former team in a 5-2 Sharks win at HP Pavilion. The Blackhawks are now 2-2-0 on this long road trip, which wraps up with games in Anaheim and Los Angeles over the weekend.
Jake Dowell and Patrick Sharp scored for the Blackhawks. Marty Turco allowed four goals on 28 shots.
The Sharks were doling out the hits from the start on the Blackhawks. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks kept up the tempo and were getting their share of shots on Niemi. The former Blackhawks goaltender stopped 30 of 32.
Maybe during the warmup, seeing the guys on the opposite side, it started to feel like more than just a normal game, Niemi said. I didnt think about it too much, but of course getting a win against them is huge, and on home ice, too. It was great.
Said Brian Campbell, obviously we had some opportunities but we needed to get to the net more. Not to take anything away from him, but he was definitely beatable.
But then the Blackhawks made a few mistakes, and the Sharks pounced on them. Nick Boynton made two costly passes toward the middle that ended up on Sharks sticks and, soon after, in the Blackhawks net. The second, a Joe Pavelski goal, gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead.
He got behind a little on the one, coach Joel Quenneville said. The other ones got to get down the ice. I dont know if we needed to make a play there.
The Sharks physical play also put the Blackhawks on the power play a few times, including twice after boarding calls. But the Blackhawks couldnt muster anything. They also came up empty on a 5-on-3 advantage for 44 seconds in the second period when they were down 3-1.
Yeah we had a couple good looks at it, but we needed to make another play or finish it off, Quenneville said. That was a good opportunity to get ourselves one there. We couldve cashed in there but we didnt.
Jonathan Toews said, We just have to be better on our power play and penalty kill. That makes a huge difference for us against a team like that. We werent good enough in both those areas.
Mistakes proved costly at the end, too. Dowell took a delay-of-game penalty in the third, and Patrick Marleau got around Jassen Cullimore to solidify the Sharks lead at 4-2. Marleau added an empty netter with three seconds remaining.
The Blackhawks were chasing throughout this one as a result of those mistakes. Its not a situation they want to find themselves in often.
I didnt mind our start. We had zone time and were ready to play, Quenneville said. But at the same time, I didnt like having to play from behind all night.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.