Brandon Saad (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
The San Jose Sharks needed a win on Saturday to shut everyone up about Joe Thornton and their fading playoff chances. Instead, Chicago's Brandon Saad helped ice the Sharks in embarrassing fashion.
They didn’t get it.
Instead, the Blackhawks embarrassed the Sharks 6-2 thanks to a beautiful goal from Brandon Saad at the start of the third period.
With the game tied 2-2 early in the third, Saad took a two-line pass from Teuvo Teravainen outside the Sharks’ blueline and cut in on goal. San Jose defenceman Mirco Mueller fell skating backwards and Saad took full advantage, dodging a diving Brenden Dillon before deking out Antti Niemi to the blocker side.
Saad’s goal opened the floodgates for the Blackhawks as they outshot the Sharks 17-9 and outscored them 4-0 in the third on their way to victory.
Bryan Bickell scored from the slot on beautiful feed from Brad Richards, Patrick Sharp threaded a shot through several players to score on the power play and Marian Hossa had the empty-net tap-in to finish the game off.
Niemi stopped 24 of 29 shots and posted a .828 save percentage in the loss – numbers that won’t endear him to management when the autopsy begins on what has been a disappointing season in San Jose.
Of course, Niemi looks like a golden boy right now when compared to Joe ‘shut your mouth’ Thornton, the man who called out general manager Doug Wilson in the media on Friday.
Thornton did his part in the game at least, scoring one goal in the losing effort.
The loss sends San Jose off on a down note as they begin a seven-game road trip. It also puts them off the pace they must set to make the playoffs.
After 10 straight seasons of making the playoffs, the Sharks are suddenly the hunted.
There’s blood in the water in San Jose. If this team doesn't make the playoffs, someone might be fish food by June.