By TIM CRONIN | Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Timo Meier scored on a deflection and added an empty-net goal, James Reimer earned his 42nd career shutout, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Sunday night.
The Sharks won for the third time in four starts, all with Reimer in goal. He was only occasionally challenged en route to his first shutout in 22 months, stopping 29 shots.
“Sometimes pucks don’t hit you, like against Toronto,” Reimer said, referring to Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs. “Sometimes they do.”
Sharks coach Bob Boughner used video clips of first-period errors, a rare move for him, to try to spark his team. It worked.
“It hurts more when you see it,” said defenseman Mario Ferraro, whose seven blocked shots were welcomed by Reimer.
The loss was the third in five games for Chicago, and dropped the Blackhawks to 6-3-0 since Derek King took over as head coach.
“The second period, we kind of changed the way we wanted to play and it cost us a little bit,” King said. “We spent too much time in our zone. We started forcing plays and they kept the ice tilted until we decided to go back to the way we played in the first.”
Meier was between Chicago goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and a defenseman when he tipped the shot of Rudolfs Balcers past a screened Fleury 13:39 into the second period, giving San Jose the lead. The goal capped a brief flurry of back-and-forth play in which Chicago defenseman Seth Jones narrowly missed converting on a 2-on-1 break.
“I was just standing in front and it hit me,” Meier said. “I was trying to take the goalie’s eyes away.”
Aside from Jones’ misfire, the closest the Blackhawks came to scoring was on a shot by defenseman Jake McCabe. On the shot, Reimer stretched and gloved it with 27 seconds left in the middle period.
Meier added an empty-net goal with 1:31 to play.
San Jose’s fourth-ranked penalty-killing unit held the Blackhawks to no shots on goal on their two power plays. Shots went high and wide, but not on net, extending Chicago’s power-play drought to one goal on 30 chances in the last 11 games.
“Hopefully we can get it going again and get that confidence like we did in the beginning of the season,” Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane said of the power play. “It was fun to play like that."
Fleury was nearly perfect, and got help from both McCabe and defenseman Connor Murphy early in the second. Fleury kicked away Alexander Barbanov’s one-timer, after which Murphy swept away Barbanov’s stuff attempt and McCabe cleared it away. Fleury stopped 20 shots.
Suspended San Jose forward Evander Kane was placed on waivers on Sunday. Kane, whose 21-game NHL suspension for submitting a fake vaccination card ended with Sunday’s game, has since been vaccinated. Dan Milstein, Kane’s new agent, said Kane would report to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda if he clears waivers, while the Sharks try to trade him. … Chicago forward Dylan Strome was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. He’d been in former coach Jeremy Colliton’s doghouse at the start of the season, missing the first four games and six of the first eight. … It was San Jose’s second shutout of the season. Adin Hill picked up the other, at Montreal on Oct. 19.
Sharks: Play the second of their five-game trip Tuesday night at New Jersey.
Blackhawks: Start a three-game trip Thursday night in Washington.