Sharks Swim Away From Blackhawks

After two performances that left a lot to be desired in southern California to open the weekend the Blackhawks flew north to San Jose for a Sunday night contest against a Sharks team that is significantly better than the Ducks or Kings.

Coach Jeremy Colliton threw the lines in the blender right away. Chris Kunitz found himself on the top line and Brendan Perlini started on the second. Brandon Saad and Dominik Kahun skated with Artem Anisimov on the third line.

Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane didn’t dress for San Jose.

The only late game on the NHL calendar, the two teams started the night quickly; there wasn’t a stoppage for five minutes to open the game, and the Blackhawks weren’t in any rush to put the puck on net. Martin Jones wasn’t tested much early in the first period.

Tomas Hertl gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 12:16 but the Hawks followed that goal with some offensive pressure. They couldn’t convert until the final minute of the opening period when Dylan Strome sniped home his 17th of the season.

Alex DeBrincat and Brent Seabrook picked up the assists.

The Hawks out-shot the Sharks 11-7 in the first period and the game was tied after 20 minutes.

Timo Meier gave the Sharks the lead once again, scoring his 23rd of the season 1:28 into the second period. This time it took the Blackhawks five minutes to tie the game. Erik Gustafsson and Jonathan Toews shared nicely and Gustafsson slammed home his 13th of the season.

The only other Hawks defenseman to scored as many as Gustafsson’s 13 goals since the Hawks won the Cup in 2010 was Seabrook, who had 14 during the 2015-16 season.

Toews and Duncan Keith were credited with helpers on Gustafsson’s goal.

The game remained tied for the rest of the second but the Blackhawks had some great looks late in the period. Hertl went to the box with 2:23 left in the frame and the Hawks went to work. Chicago put five shots on net during the power play in the closing minutes of the second period but couldn’t beat Jones.

After 40 minutes the score was tied at two. San Jose out-shot the Hawks 14-11 in the second period.

Joe Thornton put on a puck possession clinic four minutes into the third period and eventually found Marcus Sorensen, who ripped his 14th of the season to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead.

Perlini went to the box for tripping less than 40 seconds later, giving San Jose their first power play of the night. Chicago’s penalty kill ranks dead last in the NHL and allowed two goals to the Kings’ power play on Saturday afternoon.

So of course the Hawks easily subdued the fourth-ranked power play in the league.

Eight minutes into the third the Blackhawks were going to be called for a penalty. However, the Blackhawks forgot about the whole “have to stop play” part of the equation. Melker Karlsson scored his 10th of the season, apparently getting a piece of a Brent Burns shot, as Jones skated to the Sharks’ bench for the extra attacker; Chicago’s skaters quit on the play and paid for it.

With 11 minutes left in regulation the Blackhawks were now chasing two in a must-win game.

Cam Ward skated to the bench for an extra attacker with 3:15 left in regulation and his team still down 4-2. Unfortunately, two of the six skaters on the ice were Marcus Kruger and Gustav Forsling, both of whom were out there for an extended shift. The Hawks turned the puck over and Karlsson found the empty cage to make the score 5-2.

With 86 seconds left in regulation Michael Haley caught Connor Murphy with a high stick. The clock ran out without the Blackhawks giving much of an effort on the power play.

Since their seven-game winning streak the Blackhawks have plummeted back to earth. They’re 4-6-0 in their last ten with this weekend’s 1-2 California trip leaving an especially bitter taste.

Patrick Kane was held without a point again.

32 thoughts on “Sharks Swim Away From Blackhawks

  1. I’m speechless. Very painful to watch.They know they need to play for 60 and not 40 minutes! One can only wonder what might have been if Coach Q was still at the helm. All of those losses early on with this coach definitely coming back to bite them. Kind of tough when you don’t have the personel and they must learn an entire new hockey system part way through the season. Curious to see how Stan Bowman handles this off season if he’s still with the Hawks. Good luck, see ya next season!

  2. 88 has been ground to a pulp with all the minutes he’s logging. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and it’s showing. 19, 88 & even 20 look tired out there. Time to pull the whip back a little.

  3. an example of why Q spread the wealth. A known outcome often used late in games to win them. Line blender.

  4. Tonyo57…”One can only wonder what might have been if Coach Q was still at the helm.” _ REALLY? The Hawks were 6-6-3 when he was fired. The previous season, the missed the post season 33-39-10. In 2017 they swept in the first round. It wasn’t all on him, but to me it looked an awful lot light most of the teams in the league figured out how to defend his system, and he refused to or couldn’t adjust it.

    Obviously, the players – depth, fatigue, etc., also are a major factor. It’s not implausible that Q “Lost the room”. It’s universally acknowledged that he “ran the best bench”, but he also seemed to be stubborn about personnel – loyalty (occasionally inexplicable…) and his “dog house” and “playing favorites”.

    In my opinion, based on the last two seasons and the first 15 games of this year, it was time for a change. I’m optimistic about the near future – especially if they luck into a special draft pick. They’ve been rebuilding “the core”, so maybe they can become a legitimate contender as early as next season.

    GO HAWKS!!

  5. The D played reasonably well, especially Gus. The problem is this team has only a couple of offensive shut-down O players who play well in their own zone. Toews is very good, and Saad somewhat. Talk about missing Hossa. The others stand around, unable to break up plays. This puts extra pressure on the d-men to break up the play and clear the zone. Vegas just threw big money at Mark Stone, a terrific 2-way player. The next signing or trade should focus on an O-man who is good defensively.

    Yes, 88 is logging too many minutes. Now that this playoff chase is over, spread the time more.

    Kunitz is terrible. Scratch him and play others to see who will be with the team next year.

  6. This team has not been a contender since the beginning of the year. Who cares? And use movement and overhaul is badly needed. This team simply is not that good. Playoffs would be meaningless they would be swept in the first round

  7. Did exactly what we wanted this season. Not over yet, 17 games of 82. Did what we need and thats play good, when we did, and get better/more guys established.

    Now add another top 5 pick quality player. A 32-37 free pick come with a top 5 pick. Add Add Add Add ufas and trade to get roster full summer 19 and 20.

    2 yrs mate.

  8. Jones was very good. The Hawks put on some good pressure, especially during the PP but he had the answers. The Hawks missed the net on a couple of occasions where there was some open net showing. But that happens most games to most teams. The problem for the Hawks is that they aren’t good enough to miss opportunities and get away with it. Regarding the discussion above on coaching, it does not really matter who the coach is right now. The personnel on this team just can’t get you to the next level, although playing Kunitz remains a mystery. He was not bad last night and goes to the net. But he won’t be the guy that gets them to the playoffs. The playoff window is close to being closed shut anyway. It was nice to see the PK stop a team for a change.

  9. This year is lost so start preparing for next season. sure hope they can put a team on the ice next year that can win board battles, this one sure can’t.

  10. Was at the Shark Tank last night. Treated myself and my wife to good seats 8 rows up where you could feel and smell the ice. She remarked the last time I took her to a hockey game we sat behind a pillar – the old stadium of course! My observations…

    Many Hawks jerseys there. I didn’t pack mine since I had no idea of going before I left home for the bay area.

    The SAP Center opened in 1993, but it sure feels fresh and newer. I noticed the Blues arena opened in 1994 and frankly feels like a much older arena with narrow concourses and even narrower seats.

    Sharks were quicker and better positioned – several of the Hawks had trouble keeping up. The Sharks just have more depth and confidence, and perhaps a better system.

    Sharks had somebody on Kane’s body as he entered the o-zone – he had little time and space except on the power play.

    Toews and Saad were very good. Gustafsson made some very good plays, and say what you want about Seabrook, he may not be the fastest defensemen, but he is still effective.

    Had a great look at Strome’s goal. The guy is a hockey player, maybe not the fastest or biggest, but excellent hockey sense.

    Sharks goalie is huge, especially compared to Ward. He made several stops just by being there. Got me to thinking that the Hawks have got to sort out this goalie thing. It is their Achilles heel. Too many lingering question marks. This is a business, right?

    Perlini and Hayden were like wreaking balls charging around the ice. To my eye Perlini had much better positioning and decent quickness. Hayden doesn’t seem to have what it takes – yet.

    Had a good time until it was 4-2. 5-2 had me rolling to the exit. But was glad to get a look at the team first hand.

  11. I agree Kunitz is useless but the reason he plays here and there is simple.

    There is no one else.

    The top prospect available has been Sikura and what exactly has he done so far? Zero goals.

    The Ahl cupboard is pretty bare for forward prospects.

  12. Btw, I can’t wait to have Bowman sign some of the College prospects and say “These are our trade deadline acquisitions”.

  13. Scary stat of the day, Chicago has given up 93 more goals than the team with the fewest against, the isles. 26 more than the 3rd worst team, Florida. If we have any hope in future seasons, that has to change from the forwards on back.

    I can’t remember a Hawks team with worse team defense than this one. Our offense is fun to watch but defensively, turn overs, lost board battles, poor positioning and inexperience are a recipe for disaster.

  14. For starters the Hawks don’t have enough real NHL D men – Keith (who isn’t as quick as he used to be – witness SJ’s first goal) and Seabrook (no longer great but has been solid lately) and Murphy (usually competent) are it

    Gus is an offensive D man and PP specialist although he may yet be average at defending which would make him quite valuable either to the Hawks or another team in a trade (depending on the Hawks getting someone else to run the PP – Gardiner? Boquist? Joki? whoever)

    For next year if Gus can be average at D that would be an improvement and Joki should be in the top 6 (also an upgrade) and if Stan can acquire a top 4 D (LD hopefully) that would go along way to improving 3 of 6 D spots

    Hopefully whatever new FW’s come in are also competent in defensive zone – Kubalik?, Kadri? Nelson? Kapanen? etc.

    Put it all together with Colliton getting a training camp and the Hawks should be an improved defensive team next year

  15. Here’s a thought–why cant we do an intense, consistent forecheck like Vegas does?

    Do they have elite talent? No.

    Its coaching, philosophy, system, style of play–all things that CAN be implemented, regardless of talent level.

    Doing so will help cover, I think, our defensive deficiencies.

  16. Carlo, I think one problem with your scenario, or should I say the Blackhawks’ implementation of your scenario, is that the Blackhawks don’t come ready to play as a team on a consistent basis.

    A few guys consistently bring it, but it’s game to game with some others. Call it compete level, call it “confidence”, whatever. I think guys have to be constantly moving their legs to implement a steady forecheck with all lines, and the Blackhawks don’t seem to have the will or manpower to do it, IMO. I think they’d be getting burned on more odd man rushes than they already do if they tried to implement that kind of scheme. Too bad, too. You see teams do that to the Blackhawks and be successful, even with the offensive talent Chicago possesses.

  17. @Wrap, I agree that the biggest need/problem with the Hawks lies in their blue line.

    It’s a little disappointing to see the Hawks regress to their mean with their play lately. I admit it was fun to get caught up in a playoff chase but alas, they were unable to sustain their hot streak long enough to catch the top eight in the Western. The PP has come down to earth, the torrid scoring streak that Kane was on has been derailed and the defense is what the defense has been for most of the year; not good to pretty bad.

    The Hawks are a flawed team that has some holes to fill. But IMO the blue line needs the most help. My belief is the Hawks don’t become a playoff team until they fix the blue line. If they bring back the same group as last year, I don’t expect much different results. Jokiharyu being a year older helps, but it is not reasonable to expect a 19-20 year old to be the best player on the blue line and the team to be successful. If that is your recipe for success, expect to stay hungry because it won’t be enough.

    Until the blue line is fixed, this team won’t be a viable playoff challenger anytime soon. I am not sure what the timetable is for the blue line, but if it is waiting for the four horsemen, I expect this “build/re-build/re-tooling” to take longer. I had hopes that this team would challenge to be a playoff team next year and perhaps become
    a contending team as soon as the year after, but I can’t see that being the case if the blue line doesn’t drastically improve next season. Bowman has his work cut out for him.

  18. Take a look at the roster for next year~~assuming all RFAs are resigned the only three players gone Kunitz, Ward, Kruger. I assume at this point Kruger and Ward are resigned. So in other words same team next year; maybe one/two signings; and RFA may need to clear waivers to go down to the minors.

    @Miroslav The team is a mess in particular on Defense just as you state. Broken record here but I believe Keith phones it in from time to time. I will say Seabrook pulling that muscle I hope is an indication he is in fact working hard off the ice to improve. At this point given the standings I hope those two phone it in the rest of the year and just work hard off the ice to stay in shape.
    Murphy is the most physical player on the team.
    Jury is still out on Kukku. Dahlstrom has shown some, “some” promise. Either way those two need more time; they could be good years from now; who knows.
    Gus is obviously not playing defense.
    Forsling….I hope he improves.

    I wonder how teams factor in the Seattle draft~~this might be the key to the Blackhawks trading for a signed player. Rather than lose a player to the draft the Blackhawks can make a pitch for one.

    The Blackhawks have almost everyone signed for next year; few RFA’s to sign. Kunitz gone for sure. Kruger ideally returns at a cheaper rate.
    I’d like to see Tyler signed to a two-way contract. Let him come up and protect his brother a bit (assuming they resign Dylan~I assume they will just because).

    The lack of depth scoring was brutal this year;not as bad as the defense. Crow will be in a contract year;Have to wonder what is going to happen with that situation. Any cup competing team needs at least above average goaltending. The worst goalie to win a cup the past few years was Niemi, and he wasn’t by any means bad. Every other year the goaltending on the cup winning team, heck even on the runners up, the goaltending was well above average. Just my opinion but there is a lack of elite goaltending compared to years past. Remember your best penalty killer unfortunately needs to be the goalie…..and the penalty kill has been bad.

    This team has a lot of problems; hard to pin point a single fix. Almost prefer to rewatch the playoffs runs for the Blackhawks for the rest of the season.

  19. Most pressing needs next season:

    1. Veteran blueliner.
    2. Young starting or quality backup goalie.
    3. 1 center, 1 winger, both middle six quality.

    This may be accomplished through FA signings, trades (d-prospect or future picks).

    Players who should be gone: Kunitz, Forsling, Hayden, Sikura, possibly KK, possibly Perlini, possibly Kruger. Give KK and Perlini ample playing time to see if they are worth keeping.

    Trade AA if he can fetch a 3rd rounder or decent prospect.

  20. I don’t think they need an older blue liner unless he’s real good-what they need is a consistent effort/use of system that hasn’t happened yet for a few years. Murphy will be 26 next year and Gus 27 during the year-and we know about 2 and 7. That’s enough experience. They need to develop Joki and another of the young guys.

    I agree with number two and a true (and consistent) third and forth line. And of course, it ties into the first-a better PK

    They need to make Rockford relevant again.

    Hayden will get more looks but it’s becoming evident that although he’s smart in general (Yale) he doesn’t have near the hockey IQ of a Strome. He doesn’t think the game, he reacts to the game. His physical game and cycle rarely pays off for him or others.

  21. Agree with Original and Miro in the need for a D man this summer who is already developed and is top 4 quality and hopefully on the underside of age 30

    With T and K at the age they’re at the plan has to be to compete for a playoff spot next year and be in the cup conversation the year after

    With that in mind they can’t count on Boqvist or Beaudin or Mitchell to be a difference maker by then – if he is great but that can’t be the plan in all seriousness

    Joki I think can realistically be a difference maker by 20-21 and I’m willing to give Gus to TDL next year to see if he can be at least average at D (cautiously optimistic – he’s making progress IMO) but we need Tyler Myers or Ben Chiarot or Jake Gardiner or someone else of that ilk to really improve the D IMO

  22. Recliner, I wouldnt say same team. Not even close.

    Each yr going forward, a couple of the young wave will be NHL ready. Who knows if that guy is good or not, of the guys coming in, wait and see.

    For the overall roster, addition by subtraction. We saw what a difference it made taking Knutz, Ruutta, Manning out and Dals, Murf, and the switch of Schmaltz out Strome in. Those roster adjustments mad the team a lot better/from where it was the first 25 games.

    I look for the more of the same adjustments during the 20 season, and roster improvement from that then to, like this yr when we did that.

  23. Now we still need what you guys are saying, fix the defensemen group.

    Get what we need. It doesn happen overnight but we ve been working on this for a yr now. So were lining up the chips ahead of time.

    During the summer we must add ufas/and trade to get what you guys are saying.

    Bowman and crew had an excellent yr this yr for during the 82 game season trades roster adjustments. We still have draft/summer july 1. and even if we do not add much july 1 we could add from other teams overflow situations, the expansion draft and 82 game-season trades.

    I would be shocked of we do not add two good ufas players/or trade in same sense.

  24. Wrap, yea we need to add and add now. We end up with too many good defensemen, way! Then trade an extra one for a good FW.

    Recliner, yea we should give those guys, Dals Murf Gusto plenty of time to see if they become really good. Were not getting as much as they are worth now or them and what they could become anytime soon. Still be worth to keep longer, if returns arnt that great.

    Worth the wait, woldnt gain much in return persay. Like that guy said in middle of season if any of these 1st picks of other teams pan out thats gold right there of the moves Bowman made. 17/91/KoKo/that russian guy/else forgetting.

  25. Morrison, indeed I agree, it will be interesting to see if any of the prospects crack the lineup. It has happened before; but for the most part we are talking about a jump from Jrs to the NHL. Basically nobody in Rockford outside Joker. I would be interested to see how often this happens league wide; in terms of player making that jump and having an immediate impact. Debrincat comes to mind, but he’s an outlier (and a good one); even he took a while to get going as I recall~course this could have been ice time management-hard to argue with the current result~would you change it?

    I would think for roster managment even if they think a player is ready to make the jump given contract situations similar to Joker (can’t play over 40 games or burns a year as a RFA). I’m not too familiar with how that contract aspect works but it’s certainly something the Blackhawks must consider given the pay raises for RFA as well as existing cap hits.

    Many good posts here (sans spam of course) For now it’s all hope and speculation. I really wouldn’t mind Big Buff returning; course Kaner might still be mad about Buff punching him in the back of the head.

  26. Delia has been recalled to the big team for emergency reasons. Blackhawks’ statement doesn’t say what the emergency is. Someone is sick or injured. Game is not until Thursday, so must be something significant.

  27. Ward injured

    Re: re-signing Kruger – I certainly hope not – time to turn the page, great Blackhawk though he was for 2 cups

  28. Know anout moving forward. Until, though, we have 6 better 3rd and 4th line players and 13th FW better then Krugs. Lets have Krugs at 1yr/.925 .950 what ever lowest caphit for that.

    Look what happened to the flow of the 14-5-3 streak we had going, once 64 and 91 got hurt. It fucked up 2 of 3 lines. Thats prob biggest reason we started to go 4-4, amongest the obv of no deep on D and FW this yr. Just like 2008, half a roster.

    Got to have 4 lines. We had 3 with 64 and 91 to make it work. Take out a checking line center and a complimentor to 1st or 2nd line, whala.

    Id keep 20 64 16 for 20 season and go from there.

  29. DET sucks, these guys suck, up 3-2 on COL with 1 min left, let COL get win, COL should have gone down to 1, instead there at 3. Surprised DAL and MIN holding ground but it doesnt matter, these teams will get smeared by NAS and WIN anyways.

    OTT- 15
    DET- 10
    LA- 10
    NWJ- 8
    ANA- 6
    gap
    CHI- 3
    VAN- 3
    EDM- 1
    NYR- 1

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