Seth Jones, Chicago Blackhawks beat San Jose Sharks 5-4 at SAP Center

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SAN JOSE – Devin Cooley nearly earned his first career NHL win for his hometown San Jose Sharks inside the arena he visited dozens of times as a kid.
Of course, it couldn’t be that easy. Nothing has been for the Sharks this season.
The Sharks took a four-goal lead early in the second period, frittered it all away, then saw Seth Jones score at the 18-second mark of overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a stunning 5-4 win on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 17,435 at SAP Center.
In 2,749 games as a franchise, including playoffs, the Sharks’ loss on Saturday marked the first time in team history that they led by as many as four goals and still lost.
In a season of excruciating lows for the Sharks (16-46-8), Saturday’s loss had to be the most gutting.
“You can never take your foot off the pedal,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “I don’t think we did it too much, but enough to get them back in the game.
“Overall, I liked our game. They were opportunistic, and we got a little bit away from what we were doing early in the game to build the lead that we did. But they made plays when they needed to.”
Thomas Bordeleau scored twice in the first period and Fabian Zetterlund had two goals and an assist, but the fragile Sharks’ losing streak now is at seven games as they fell five points back of the Blackhawks (20-46-5) for 31st place in the NHL standings.
“Just need to play 60 minutes the same way, stay aggressive,” Bordeleau said. “We can’t be losing that game.”
It first appeared that Saturday’s game become a rare laugher in the Sharks’ favor.
But after Zetterlund scored his second goal of the game and his 20th of the season, firing a wrist shot past Chicago goalie Petr Mrazek to give San Jose a 4-0 lead at the 1:24 mark of the second period, the Blackhawks started to find their legs.
Ex-Sharks winger Ryan Donato scored his 11th of the season at the 6:45 mark of the second period, and Tyler Johnson added his 16th of the season.
Jones’ fifth goal of the season at the 6:20 mark of the third period cut San Jose’s lead to one — a shot that Cooley wanted back.
“When I get really excited I start to sit back really low and that opens up holes underneath, and so every single day we’ve been working to be more upright and it seals the holes,” Cooley said. “I knew exactly what I needed to do and instead I sat back and it goes right through the arm.”
Phillipp Kurashev then scored with 47 seconds left in the third period to tie the game 4-4, completely demoralizing the Sharks.
No player felt worse about Saturday’s collapse than Cooley, the Los Gatos native who had about a dozen family members in attendance.
Cooley made nine saves in the first period but stopped just 17 of 21 shots in the second and third periods. Jones’ game-winner came on the first shot in overtime.
“The team was dialed in. I thought they played amazing,” said Cooley, who was making his second career NHL start, “and I just couldn’t make the saves I needed to.”
Cooley, 26, a Los Gatos native, became the first individual from Santa Clara County to play for the Sharks when he started for San Jose last Sunday in Chicago. He made 26 saves in what turned into a 5-2 Blackhawks win.
After Saturday, his future with the Sharks is cloudy at best. The team, now with 12 games left, might also want to get a look at another goalie in the system, perhaps Eetu Makiniemi with the Barracuda to back up Mackenzie Blackwood, who will almost certainly start Tuesday’s home game against the Dallas Stars.
Cooley needs a contract for next season, and it might not come from the Sharks who already have Blackwood, Vitek Vanacek, Magnus Chrona and Georgi Romanov locked up. Makiniemi, who came to San Jose in 2022 in the trade that saw Brent Burns go to the Carolina Hurricanes, is a restricted free agent.
“I honestly thought that was my worst game of the year and that was a huge opportunity for me, so it’s frustrating,” Cooley said. “The guys played well and they deserved the win. They deserved better. So I’m going to do everything I can to continue to build off that and continue to work and improve so next time I can be better for the guys in front of me.”
“It’s a great learning opportunity,” Quinn said of Cooley. “I’m sure there were nerves playing in front of his home crowd and being from here. It’s never easy when you’re playing in front of your hometown, and so there’s a lot of excitement. He made some saves for us, too.”

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