The San Jose Sharks were on even terms with the Chicago Blackhawks when they skated upon a potentially winning chance.
Instead, the Sharks’ opportunity – a power play early in the third period – turned on itself. The Blackhawks, thanks to a Brandon Saad short-handed goal, took the lead, never looked back and accomplished NHL history with a 2-1 win over San Jose.
Naturally, Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan wasn’t about the goal being given up, or how it was given up. And it was defenseman Brent Burns, who backed off and left Saad plenty of room for the shot, that drew the coach’s ire.
“I thought we let a player in a situation that wasn’t very dangerous skate into a primary scoring spot without even challenging him,” McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News.
Added the Sharks’ Joe Thornton to CSN Chicago: “It was a good game, we started the way we wanted to start.
“We’ve been pretty good on the power play, not letting them score, but [Saad’s goal] was a killer. For the game-winning goal to be like that, it’s tough.
The Sharks continue to struggle in the month of February. One win in the last nine games has the Sharks reeling at sixth in the Western Conference and only two points ahead of the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings, who both sit outside of the top eight at ninth and 10th, respectively.
Friday’s loss represented the sixth consecutive game in which the Sharks were reduced to two-goals for or less.
“Yeah, you’re [angry]. You’re not happy with it and you shouldn’t be after a loss,” McLellan told NHL.com.
“The effort was much better [than in previous losses to Chicago this season]. The battle was better. We still only scored one goal. We gave up the winner on the power play. So we should all be a little unhappy.”