SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tied on the road and with the clock winding down, the Blackhawks were playing not to lose on Tuesday night. San Jose played to win.
Tomas Hertl swept in a fortuitous bounce off the back boards after a Brent Burns shot from the point with 2:03 left in the game to lift the Sharks to a 3-1 victory over the Hawks in the first game out of the break.
The Hawks also lost 3-1 coming out of Christmas break, but the effort against San Jose was a lot better than the effort that night against Winnipeg. But it was small solace as the Hawks dropped their third straight game, all of them third-period losses.
“Two minutes to go there, we just want to get it to overtime and look for the extra point there,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Three games in a row we’ve given up some points, whether it’s one, two, three, four, five or six. But you get zero, it’s a tough pill to swallow. You have to make sure you’re not scored upon at any time, particularly that time of the game.”
The pace was high from the start as both teams seemed rested and raring to go after the All-Star weekend, but neither team could find the back of the net until well into the second period. The breakthrough came at 11:41 of the second, when Patrick Marleau flashed some quick hands to corral a rebound and tuck it in behind Corey Crawford. But Quenneville challenged the goal, and won, as the Sharks were offside on the play.
But Marleau got his 499th career goal anyway, putting in a Brent Burns rebound on a power play less than three minutes later. After Crawford kicked aside a Timo Meier breakaway a minute later, Dennis Rasmussen unleashed a sensational wrist shot from the top of the right circle, banking the puck in off the far post to tie the score.
The game appeared destined for overtime until the Sharks pinned the Hawks in their own zone late, unable to clear the puck, Burns’ shot went wide, and caromed back through the crease behind Crawford, and right to Hertl for the tap-in. Joe Pavelski, who assisted on the first two goals, added an empty-netter in the final minute.
“I thought it was a lot better than the previous two games, and we did a lot of good things,” Duncan Keith said. “But it’s a tough way to lose, [in] the last couple minutes there. We ended up running around and couldn’t get it out.”
It was another quiet night for the Hawks’ vaunted second line. Artem Anisimov hasn’t scored in 11 games, Artemi Panarin hasn’t scored in nine, and Patrick Kane has scored in only two of his last 11.
“Tough stretch for them, but we need them to be productive and effective and dangerous and have the puck a little bit more,” Quenneville said. “But I thought we were loose with the puck tonight, and not just that line.”