The San Jose Sharks opened the second half of the 2016-17 NHL season with a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at SAP Center on Tuesday night.
Just four minutes into the opening period, Sharks goaltender Martin Jones averted a probable Blackhawks goal with an incredible save on a breakaway attempt by forward Ryan Hartman.
Turnovers costed the Sharks during the first 20 minutes of the game. Just moments after Artemi Panarin’s hooking penalty expired, the Sharks suffered bad luck, witnessing a stoppage of Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s shot on goal and then handing another shot on goal to the Blackhawks’ top line.
Shots were 10-7 in favor of the Sharks, despite the two teams skating to a scoreless tie after one period of play.
The Blackhawks were held without a single shot in the first 10 minutes of the middle period.
Brenden Dillon went to the box with a tripping penalty at 9:22. Patrick Marleau collected a pass that was initially set up by Mikkel Boedker, but the officials reviewed the play, declaring no goal due to Boedker being offsides.
The Sharks bounced back, capitalizing with the man advantage. It all started when Artem Anisimov went to the box for hooking at 14:40. Marleau then picked up a rebound from Joe Pavelski and beat Corey Crawford over the glove on the power play for his 499th career goal and 18th of the season at 14:06.
But the Sharks’ lead was short-lived as Dennis Rasmussen fired a wrist shot past Jones for his fourth goal of the season, tying the score 1-1 at 16:53.
The Sharks led the Blackhawks 21-17 in shots and the score was tied 1-1 after two periods of play.
The game gravitated towards a balance in the final period as the shots for both teams were tied 24-24 just under the 12 minute mark.
In his second game following a knee injury, Tomas Hertl scored his fifth of the season. Brent Burns’ long-range wrist shot missed the post, but Hertl stuffed the puck through traffic to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 17:57.
“I’m happy I’m getting better and better,” Hertl said.
Pavelski skated in alone and fired the puck into the empty net for his 17th of the season with 45.5 seconds left in regulation, sealing a 3-1 victory for the Sharks.
The Sharks (32-17-2) completed a brief, two-game homestand with a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks (30-17-5) at home. Jones finished with 24 saves in a victory.
“I thought we were [really] strong on the 5-on-5,” Jones said.
Corey Crawford made 26 saves in a losing effort.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer enjoyed the first hockey game coming off the All-Star break.
“Yeah, it was a great hockey game,” DeBoer said. “I think these were two fresh teams, two good teams, just a great hockey game overall.”
Scratched: Tim Heed
Injured: Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Michael Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist)
Tuesday’s attendance was 17,424.
The Sharks stop by Rogers Arena to face the Vancouver Canucks (23-21-6) Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. PST on CSN-CA and SNP.