With the playoffs out of reach, coach Joel Quenneville is hoping his Chicago Blackhawks can play spoiler and ruin some Stanley Cup dreams.
Well, they failed in epic fashion Thursday night, making host San Jose look like the best team in the NHL during a 7-2 train wreck of a loss to the Sharks.
Quenneville's squad actually took a 1-0 lead on an Artem Anisimov goal (his 18th) just 2:12 into the game, but after Joe Pavelski completed a 4-on-2 rush midway through the first period, the Hawks looked lost, confused and completely out of sorts.
San Jose led 2-1 after one period and 6-1 after two.
How bad was it? This bad:
• Defenseman Erik Gustafsson and Carl Dahlstrom were on the ice for San Jose's first 3 goals. Both misplayed pucks and misread situations, leaving wide-open nets for Sharks shooters.
• With 8:08 left in the first period, Tomas Jurco had a chance to put the Hawks up 2-1, but he couldn't come close to handling a sweet backhand pass from Patrick Kane.
• Anthony Duclair failed on a breakaway in the second period. He also failed on a third-period penalty shot.
• Patrick Sharp failed to complete a 2-on-1 in the second.
• And, finally, goalie J-F Berube -- instead of freezing the puck with only a few seconds left in the second -- threw it behind the net and was scored on by Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
Berube, who stopped 42 shots in a 3-1 Hawks win over San Jose last week, was pulled after two periods in favor of Anton Forsberg. The Hawks' other goal came from Nick Schmaltz with 33 seconds remaining.
The Hawks (27-29-8) have scored the first goal in 15 of the last 19 contests, yet are only 5-8-2 in those games.
Pavelski had 2 goals, Logan Couture recorded his team-best 27th goal, and Dylan DeMelo had 3 assists for San Jose (35-21-9).