Jones helps Sharks turn back Blackhawks, 2-1

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE – Martin Jones made 33 saves Wednesday night as the San Jose Sharks held off the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in front of 17,501 fans at SAP Center in San Jose.
After the Sharks took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, the visitors responded with one goal in the second period. Sparked by the net play by Jones, San Jose denied a tying goal by Chicago for the final 27 minutes.
Chicago remains in first place in the Central Division of the Western Conference with 28 points. San Jose, with 23 points, is second in the Pacific Division behind pace-setting Edmonton.
San Jose took advantage of strong special teams’ showing to fashion a 2-0 lead within the first 15 minutes of play.
The teams were skating 4-on-4 after matching slashing penalties when the Sharks earned a power play at 11:20 of the first period on an Artem Anisimov hooking call.
San Jose needed 12 seconds to take a 1-0 lead. Joe Pavelski controlled the puck in the high slot of the Hawks’ zone before feeding Logan Couture at the right dot for a one-timer inside the right post past goaltender Corey Crawford.
The Sharks went up 2-0 with a short-handed goal from Joel Ward. Working the penalty-kill in Chicago’s zone, Chris Tierney was able to secure the puck behind San Jose’s net. Tierney’s flip down the ice dipped past Hawks’ defenseman Brent Seabrook at the blueline and toward an advancing Ward. As Ward kept pace ahead of Seabrook, the winger faked a move toward Crawford before slipping the puck behind the goalie for his second goal of the season at the 14:42 mark.
While the Sharks could not take advantage of 82 seconds of 5-on-3 power play in the second period, the Blackhawks cut the deficit in half on an Artemi Panarin goal at the 12:11 mark. Anisimov earned his 11th assist of the season when he found Panarin open at the top of the left circle for the slapshot past Jones.
San Jose owned a 34-13 edge in hits, led by Tommy Wingels and Micheal Haley with five each.
NOTES: The Sharks’ homestand continues with a Friday 1pm game against the Islanders, Saturday’s 7:30pm tilt against Anaheim and Tuesday’s 7pm game opposite Arizona…The San Jose Barracuda of the AHL will host Bakersfield Friday at 6pm at SAP Center…The Sharks’ line-up included defenseman Dylan DeMelo making his season debut in place of David Schlemko.