It took 40 minutes for the Blackhawks to wake up in San Jose, but the offense finally showed up with an explosion in the third period.
The host Sharks out-shot the Blackhawks 26-13 in the first two periods, but Corey Crawford stood tall – especially in the first period. He allowed only two goals, the second of which was redirected perfectly into the net by Brent Seabrook during a Sharks power play during the middle stanza.
Thankfully, some of the Blackhawks slumbering stars continued to wake up and the scoreboard reflected an awakened effort in the third.
Patrick Sharp scored a rare even strength goal in the first period, his first goal in 19 games. In the second, Duncan Keith broke an 18-game scoring draught with a power play marker of his own.
Chicago took it right at San Jose from the start of the third, and the blowout didn’t take long. Brandon Saad scored the game-winner, his 21st of the season, only 1:21 into the period. Less than four minutes later, Brad Richards made a nice play behind the net and found Bryan Bickell all alone in front for an easy snipe; the goal was Bickell’s 12th of the season.
After the Bickell goal, the game was out-of-hand for the Sharks. Sharp added a power play goal at 15:10, and Marian Hossa added an empty net goal at 17:44 to close the books on a six-goal performance for the Hawks.
Antoine Vermette picked up two assists in the game, his first two points as a member of the Blackhawks. He won only six of 19 faceoffs, however, and spent only six seconds on either special teams unit in the game.
Jonathan Toews won 15 of 26 faceoffs against perhaps his most hated rival, Joe Thornton. He picked up an assist on Hossa’s goal and was credited with one takeaway in the game as well.
The box score wasn’t kind to Andrew Shaw (one hit, one takeaway, minus-one in the game) but he had a strong game on the power play. He was parked in front of Antti Niemi for both of the Hawks’ power play goals, and skated 13:50 without taking the obligatory dumb penalty; staying out of the box was impressive for Shaw because the Sharks took their shots at him all afternoon.
Crawford finished with 33 saves and a .943 save percentage in another strong victory.
Former Shark Andrew Desjardins led the Hawks with two hits, but only skated 9:08 in the game. Ben Smith blocked two shots and picked up one hit in 11:28, and won seven of 10 faceoffs. Former Blackhawks… defenseman(?) John Scott
got in the way of blocked three shots in the game as well.