SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Combined, Silicon Valley's Big Three -- Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley -- fell to a minus-16 after a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at HP Pavilion on Sunday.
"We played fine," said Thornton, who was on the ice -- along with Marleau and Heatley -- when Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien scored the Blackhawks' goals. "We created some chances, but we definitely have to be better in Game 2."
The Sharks' top line was out there for their team's loan tally -- scored by defenseman Jason Demers -- but since it was on the power play, it didn't affect their plus-minus stats.
Heatley could have had the most prime opportunities to break though in Game 1, especially in the third period.
He sent a slap shot on the Blackhawks' net that Antti Niemi just got his leg pad on as he slid across the crease. He also was perched wide-open atop the face-off circle and zoomed a one-timer past the goal that would have tied the game at 2 with 3:50 left in regulation.
"I thought we had our chances to win that game, to take the lead," Heatley said.
While Heatley and Thornton have combined for 22 points, only five of those have come off goals. Marleau, who like Heatley has missed a game this postseason due to injury or illness, added his fifth assist on the Demers goal to go along with his three goals.
"Again, they had opportunities," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "They produced a power-play goal for us, which was important against a very good penalty kill team. I think what you're probably asking me is the fact that they were on the ice for two goals-against, and got nothing five-on-five. That happens sometimes."
The Blackhawks sent a steady stream of their top line (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Byfuglien), although Chicago mixed it up throughout the contest.
Normally this postseason when the top line struggled, the Sharks' second line picked up the slack. The Ryane Clowe-Joe Pavelksi-Devin Setoguchi line got their chances with 17 shots on goal, but they weren't able to contribute.
"We just need to bury those chances," Setoguchi said.