SAN JOSE – The Sharks scored a pair of special teams goals in the first period and it turned out to be enough in an energetic, fast paced 2-1 win over Chicago on Wednesday at SAP Center.
The Sharks improved to 2-0 on their five-game homestand, and are 6-2 at SAP Center overall.
A power play goal followed by a shorthanded score staked the Sharks an early 2-0 edge.
Logan Couture got it started, teeing off a one-timer going bar down at 11:32. It was his sixth of the season, four of which have come with a man advantage.
Joel Ward’s first goal in 18 games made it a 2-0 lead. The forward cruised towards a loose puck headed into the Chicago end after Brent Seabrook dove in vain to try and prevent Chris Tierney’s clearing attempt from leaving the zone. Ward froze Corey Crawford with a fake slapper before sliding it through at 14:42.
Chicago got on the board in the second period with the only goal. Artemi Panarin blasted a one-timer from Artem Anisimov at 12:11, cutting the Sharks’ lead to 2-1.
Coming off of a shutout on Monday, Martin Jones remained on point. In the first period, he stopped a partial breakaway by Tyler Motte with about seven minutes to go, and a slapper by Brent Seabrook from the circle about a minute later. Marian Hossa was denied with 31 seconds to go after a Brent Burns giveaway in the corner.
In the second period, Jones robbed Ryan Hartman on a two-on-one with Nick Schmaltz with 6:25 to go, and kicked away a sneaky shot by Motte in the final minute.
Finally, in the third, Jones preserved the slim lead by swatting away Artem Anisimov’s chance from the slot with 9:55 to go. He finished with 33 saves.
The Sharks had a prime opportunity to increase their lead before the intermission with a two-man advantage for one minute and 22 seconds, but Joe Thornton rang one off the crossbar and an errant pass by Joe Pavelski after he had all kinds of time with the puck just outside of the crease allowed Chicago to escape.
Defenseman David Schlemko was a late scratch due to illness. Dylan DeMelo made his season debut, skating with Brenden Dillon on the third pair.
Chicago lost captain Jonathan Toews in the second period for reasons that weren’t immediately clear.
San Jose was 1-for-4 on the power play, scoring with a man advantage for the third time in the last six games (3-for-20).
The Blackhawks were 0-for-2. The Sharks are 36-for-38 on the PK over their last 15 games (94.7 percent).
Chicago, which entered with the league’s worst penalty kill, has also given up a league-high five shorthanded goals.
Jones, starting for the 18th time in 20 games, improved to 10-7-1 on the year. He has allowed two or fewer goals in six of eight home games.
Crawford made 33 saves to suffer the loss. He misplayed Ward’s goal, when he had all kind of time to come out of the crease and retrieve the puck before the Sharks forward corralled it and beat him.
DeMelo had been scratched for the previous 43 straight games – 24 in the 2016 playoffs, and the first 19 this season. His most recent game was last year’s regular season finale on April 9.
Melker Karlsson missed his fourth straight game with a left foot injury, but is expected to return shortly.
Danny O’Regan, who made his NHL debut on Monday, was reassigned to the Barracuda on Tuesday.
The Sharks continue their busy week at home with a matinee matchup on Friday against the Islanders. The Ducks visit on Saturday night, and the homestand concludes next Tuesday, Nov. 29 with Arizona.