Artemi Panarin scored his eighth goal of the season but Jonathan Toews left the game with an upper-body injury as the Chicago Blackhawks fell 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday at SAP Center in San Jose.
While the lost does hurt the Hawks (13-6-2) in the standings, a bigger concern could be Toews, who left in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return for the rest of the game. Toews appeared to get tangled up with Sharks’ forward Joe Pavelski during his last shift, which he completed at 11 minutes, 17 seconds of the second period. Toews has four goals and eight assists in 21 games this season, but he’s tallied only two helpers in his last eight outings.
Coach Q on Jonathan Toews: "We'll see how he is tomorrow. We're hopeful that he's ok and it's nothing long-term or serious." #Blackhawks— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 24, 2016
The Hawks also lost Marcus Kruger during the end of the second period. Officials convened at the Hawks’ bench and sent off Kruger for a concussion evaluation from the NHL’s new concussion spotters. Earlier in the period, Kruger was checked into the boards by Sharks’ Tommy Wingels, who was given an interference penalty for the act. Kruger did return for the third period.
Q said Kruger was the first time the #Blackhawks had a spotter take out a player. "Everybody, I think, was trying to do the right things."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 24, 2016
Logan Couture and Joel Ward scored both of the Sharks’ goals in the first period.
Couture put the Sharks on the scoreboard first with a 4-on-3 power play goal. He fired a one-timer from the right circle past Corey Crawford to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 11:32.
Crawford stopped 33 of 35 shots in his 17th outing this season.
Ward scored a shorthanded goal to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead. Ward outskated Brent Seabrook to reach the puck on a breakaway then faked his shot before putting the puck into the net for the fifth shorthanded goal against the Hawks this season.
Panarin scored on a one-timer from Artem Anisimov to cut the deficit to 2-1 but that was all the offense the Hawks would get against Martin Jones, who stopped 32 of 33 shots for the win.
It’s the second straight lost and third of the Circus Trip for Chicago. The Hawks are now 2-3 on the seven-game Circus Trip with the Anaheim Ducks (Friday) and the Los Angeles Kings (Saturday) left to go. Chicago hasn’t had a losing Circus Trip since 2006.