Closing time a bad one again for the Blackhawks in San Jose
SAN JOSE – A problem from the end of the first half of the regular season has carried over to the second, just as Joel Quenneville hoped wouldn’t happen.
Before the Blackhawks’ first game after the All-Star game – the symbolic second leg of the season – the coach expressed hope that his team would start off their final 33-games quickly getting rid of the bad taste left by a pair of losses last week.
Instead, his team repeated the issues that cost them a five-game winning streak heading into the break weekend.
As they did in losses the Lightning and Jets at home, the Blackhawks saved their worst hockey for the last period in San Jose on Tuesday night. A pair of tallies in the final minutes of the game gave the Sharks a 3-1 victory and sent the Blackhawks to their third consecutive defeat.
Tomas Hertl got the eventual game-winning tally with 2:03 to go in the game to break a 1-1 tie. He was in the right place as Brent Burns’ slap shot bounced off the boards and came out in front of the net. Hertl tipped it past Corey Crawford for the score.
Joe Pavelski added an empty-net goal with 46 seconds left to cap another bad third period for the Blackhawks that drops them to 30-17-5 on the season.
This trend began before the All-Star break when the Blackhawks lost their first lead after two periods since the end of the 2013-2014 season against Tampa on January 24th. A one goal lead after two periods evaporated as the Lightning score four times in a 5-2 victory.
Two nights later the Jets did the same, this time scoring a trio of goals to erase a Blackhawks lead after 40 minutes.
This time the Blackhawks never had the lead as the Sharks got on the board in the second period when Patrick Marleau scored his 499th career goal. Dennis Rasmussen answered under three minutes later with his fourth goal of the year to give the Hawks an even slate heading into the final period.
Just like before that’s where the problems continued, leading to a start to the second half that Quenneville hoped wouldn’t happen.