Despite battling from behind three times to take a lead into the third period, the Hawks fell to the Western Conference-leading Sharks 6-5 Sunday night in front of a United Center crowd of 21,181.
The four power-play goals given up were a season high for the Hawks and ended their five-game homestand on a sour note as they fell to 6-1-4 at the United Center and 7-4-5 overall.
The Hawks lost despite three-point nights from former Shark Brian Campbell and fellow defenseman Cam Barker, who each had a goal and two assists, and two goals from Kris Versteeg.
"It's really disappointing," said Campbell, who scored his third goal of the season in the first period. "Those are games you have to find a way to win.
"San Jose didn't play their best. We gave them some goals, and they gave us some goals. You have to find ways to win those.
"We took penalties, some in the offensive zone, which you don't want to take. You know they aren't going to let up. It's a gutsy team. I think we gave them a little bit too much respect, especially early on when we were a little tentative."
With Dustin Byfuglien in the penalty box for tripping, Devin Setoguchi broke a 5-5 tie and scored the game-winner with 4 minutes 15 seconds remaining as San Jose went 4-for-6 on the power play.
The Hawks matched their season high with two power-play goals in five chances.
"We played well," Versteeg said. "It was unfortunate in the last seconds, and they scored the game-winning goal. You don't blame anyone; you just have to move forward."
Dan Boyle scored two power-play goals and Joe Pavelski added three assists to help lift the Sharks to an NHL-best 15-3-1 record.
Former Hawk Jeremy Roenick scored his first goal of the season in the second period to give the Sharks a 4-2 lead, but the Hawks got goals by Versteeg, Barker and Patrick Kane to lead 5-4 after two. The Sharks then scored twice in the third to secure the victory.
"I'm not happy at all with the way this thing ended," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "There's no satisfaction at all. They're a good team and we had them where we wanted them, and we let them off the hook."
The Hawks now embark on a six-game, 12-day trip, with the first stop in Phoenix to play the Coyotes on Tuesday night. A victory over the top team in the NHL would have made for a more enjoyable plane ride to that first stop. Instead, the Hawks carry a three-game winless streak with them.
"I think we could have proved we can be a playoff team and beat any team in this league on any given night," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "There's still some things we have to sharpen up.
"Especially in this last three-game skid we haven't played a solid third-period game, and I think we really need to think about that."