Firing a puck into your own net four minutes into a four-game trip and falling two goals down after five minutes isn't exactly what the Blackhawks had in mind Thursday.
Yet that's the situation they faced after defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev fired a shot into his net on a clearing attempt. Just 50 seconds later, San Jose scored again and it appeared to be the beginning of a very long trip.
Despite that, the Hawks salvaged a point with a 3-3 tie on two Brett McLean goals and another from Mark Bell.
"It was a big point and a good way to start the road trip," coach Brian Sutter said.
It didn't start out that way. Karpovtsev's gaffe came seconds into a San Jose power play 4 minutes 15 seconds into the game.
Scott Nichol won the draw back to Karpovtsev, who turned to fire it around the boards and out of the Hawks' zone. He instead shot it past a stunned Jocelyn Thibault on the short side.
"I think everybody was shocked, even the Sharks," Thibault said. "It was just one of those things."
San Jose made it 2-0 when the Hawks were caught on one side of the ice. Scott Hannan found Marco Sturm on the opposite side. Sturm put a perfect pass on the blade of Nils Ekman, who had a step on defenseman Steve Poapst, for a tap-in past Thibault.
Late in the first period, Karpovtsev left the game after taking a stick to the throat. He was taken to San Jose Medical Center as a precaution.
The Hawks cut the Sharks' lead in half early in the second period on the power play. Steve Sullivan found a streaking Brett McLean and gave him a pinpoint pass. McLean got behind the San Jose defense and beat Evgeni Nabokov with a backhander.
Bell tied it by knocking a San Jose pass down out of midair at center ice, then blistering a shot past Nabokov at 16:19 of the second period.
McLean and Sullivan hooked up again to give the Hawks the lead with just under three minutes left in the period, this time short-handed. San Jose turned the puck over at the Hawks' blue line for a 2-on-1, Sullivan waited and found McLean for his third of the season.
San Jose tied it with another power-play goalthis one coming off a Shark's stick. With McLean in the box after an ill-advised neutral zone hooking penalty, Tom Preissing pounced on a rebound of a Brad Stuart shot at 8:03 of the third.
The Hawks wanted to start this trip in the same manner as their 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators last Sunday.
Without center Alex Zhamnov and winger Eric Daze, Sullivan said the Hawks had to become a "grittier" team.
"Joc did a good job of closing the door," Sullivan said. "It was a character point by the guys in the room."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun