Posted February 06, 2013 on AP on Fox
Patrick Kane scored two goals, including the tiebreaking goal after a fight midway through the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on Tuesday night in a matchup of the NHL's top two teams. Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger also scored for the Blackhawks, who overcame a 2-0 deficit to remain the only team in the NHL yet to lose a game in regulation this season. Corey Crawford made 30 saves. Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels and Michal Handzus scored for the Sharks, who have lost three straight games following a franchise-record seven-game winning streak to open the season. Antti Niemi made 26 saves. The biggest difference for the Sharks during this recent slide has been the power play. San Jose failed to convert on all three chances against Chicago and has one power-play goal in its last 21 opportunities after scoring 12 power-play goals in the first five games. The most painful came early in the third period with a chance to tie the game when Niemi was called for delay of game just 11 seconds after Nick Leddy was sent off for holding. Penalty killing has been a strength this season for the Blackhawks, who have allowed two goals in 39 short-handed chances. Kane added an empty-net goal for the final margin. The game changed midway through the second period after Andrew Desjardins flattened former Shark Jamal Mayers with a hard hit that drew the ire of Chicago's Duncan Keith, who started a fight with Desjardins. Desjardins was given ejected for a hit to the head although replays appeared to show the contact was with the shoulder. So instead of a four-minute power play for San Jose, there were four minutes of 4-on-4 play followed by a one-minute power play for Chicago. That proved critical when Jonathan Toews picked Douglas Murray's pocket near the net during the 4-on-4 and fed Kane for the go-ahead goal that gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead heading into the third. Both teams came into the game playing tight defense and struggling to score in recent games. That all changed in a wide-open first period that featured three goals for each team, including the first of the season for four players. San Jose got out to quick a 2-0 lead on goals by Pavelski and Wingels before a dizzying 89-second stretch that featured four goals, including three by Chicago. The Blackhawks had scored three goals in a stretch of more than 198 minutes of game action before Saad started this goal frenzy by slamming a pass from Brent Seabrook at the side of the net 10:08 into the first for his first goal of the season. Handzus answered with his first 39 seconds later when he beat Crawford to the short side off a pass in transition from Wingels. But there was no time to celebrate that as the Blackhawks took 8 seconds off the ensuing faceoff to get the goal from Shaw off a pass from behind the net from Bryan Bickell. Kruger capped the spree at the 11:37 mark when Justin Braun's clearing attempt hit Wingels' skate and went right to Kruger, who knocked in his first goal of the season. Notes: The Sharks have killed 31 consecutive penalties over the past seven games. ... San Jose F James Sheppard assisted on Wingels' goal for his first NHL point since getting an assist March, 26, 2010, for Minnesota. ... Sharks D Dan Boyle returned to the lineup after missing Monday's game in Anaheim with an illness. ... Chicago C Dave Bolland returned after missing one game after being slashed in the ankle.
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