San Jose Sharks encouraging start leads to defeat against the Chicago Blackhawks

Mar 17, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Joey Anderson (15) scores
Mar 17, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Joey Anderson (15) scores / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a diffciult season for the San Jose Sharks, but this latest game may have allowed the Sharks the right to the best odds at the first overall pick as they were defeated in the Windy City by the Chicago Blackhawks. This is another one of those games where the Sharks looked good but in the end, the pure lack of talent on the roster ended up costing the Sharks what could have been a confidence building win over another lackluster opponent.

It started well when San Jose's fourth line would strike. Alexander Barabanov would lead the Sharks through center ice which created a two-on-one with Ryan Carpenter. Barabanov's shot was knocked down by Petr Mrazek in the Chicago net, but the rebound fell to the blade of Carpenter who scores against his former team, and the Sharks took an early lead in the tankoff between two bottom feeders.

San Jose would double its lead before the end of the first. Mikael Granlund took the puck behind the net and had an forever to find the pass he wanted. Klim Kostin was left all alone in front, and Granlund found the stick of the Russian winger who buried it to extend the lead. A bright start to the first period for the Sharks let them get into this dominant position, and they would be able to build from here, right?

This is where the implosion started. Connor Bedard would find a beautiful cross-ice pass to Tyler Johnson. The former Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning picked out the streaking Philipp Kurashev in the slot, and he was able to deflect the puck past Devin Cooley who was making his NHL debut. Not a great start to the second period for the Sharks.

Halfway through the third period, the Blackhawks would tie the game up. A heavy point pass into the skates of Ryan Donato would force the former Bruins draft pick to dig it out of his feet. He's able to do that with no pressure on him, which is concerning in itself, but then he spins and fires the puck into the corner of the net past Devin Cooley to knot this game up, and we're back where we started.

Chicago would get the lead a minute later. A point shot from Kevin Korchinski through traffic would find its way past everything, It took a bounce in front off of Jacob MacDonald who was trying to block the shot, but deflected it into the top corner of his own net. He is trying to do the right thing, so you can't be upset, but that bounce feels like the entire Sharks season in a nutshell.

Off the faceoff following that goal, the Blackhawks would strike again. Sharks won the faeoff but turned the puck over. Jason Dickinson and Colin Blackwell manage to work the puck into the offensive zone. Eventually the puck finds its way onto the stick of Joey Anderson who just throws the puck between his legs and says a prayer. Apparently, it was answered as it bounces off a Sharks skate in front and off the pads of Cooley on its way in.

To put the final nail in the coffin, the Blackhawks would hit the empty net to end the game, and the Sharks lose in spectacular fashion. Connor Bedard would be the one to score the empty net goal with less than a second to go in the game, but it was semantics anyway. Quite the implosion from Sharks sees them move 4 points clear in the race for the best odds at the first overall pick.