How it happened: It wasn’t the prettiest of games by either team, and both goaltenders would probably like to have at least one goal back, but the Sharks prevailed by taking advantage of some bad penalties taken by the home team. San Jose scored two power-play goals and gained momentum off of the Blackhawks’ infractions. The Hawks got back in the game with two goals in the final 23 seconds of the second period, including the then-tying score with :00.5 left, but they couldn’t carry that momentum to the third period. The winning goal came off a Joe Thornton deflection as the Hawks did not play well in front of their own net. Ryane Clowe added an empty-netter at the end of the contest.
What it means: It was a shaky first full game without Jonathan Toews, marked by bad penalties and bad penalty killing. Marty Turco came back to Earth after two solid performances and the man he replaced in goal, Antti Niemi, beat the Hawks for the third time this season. The Hawks have dropped two straight after winning four in a row.
What’s next: A day off on New Year’s Eve before a New Year’s day practice and trip to Southern California for back-to-back games Sunday and Monday against the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings. The Hawks will take their moms on the two-game road trip.