By Brad Gardner
Despite a better effort at both ends of the ice from the Blackhawks, it was still not enough to get past Antti Niemi and the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. Despite a pronounced lead in the shot count and possession time, the Blackhawks fell by a score of 1-0 for their third consecutive regulation loss.
San Jose was strong out of the gate, registering four shots on Corey Crawford in the first four and a half minutes. The Sharks’ offense was limited by a couple penalties as well as Chicago’s puck possession and managed only one shot through the last 15 minutes of the first.
The ‘Hawks finished the first with 10 shots on Niemi, including a pair of breakaways. Brent Burns whiffed on clear and Marian Hossa picked up the loose puck but shot high. Bryan Bickell broke in alone shortly after, but Niemi was able to square up and snuff out another chance.
Momentum went back and forth in the second period as the team’s traded penalties and prime scoring chances. Jamie McGinn rang a shot off the post just after a San Jose power play ended and then leveled Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy for good measure. Hossa had another great opportunity when he split between the San Jose defensive pairing of Douglas Murray and Dan Boyle but his backhand shot went off the outside of the net.