Blackhawks 3, Sharks 2, OT

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 11, 2011
Patrick Sharp steered in a loose puck off a rebound at 4:26 of overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night. Antti Niemi stopped Marian Hossa's shot from the top of the right circle, but kicked the puck toward the goal line. Sharp swooped in to bury the rebound for his sixth goal in his last six games, helping Chicago improve to 4-0-1 in its last five. Chicago's Andrew Brunette scored on deflection with 1:06 left in the third period and Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery pulled for an extra attacker to tie it 2. Following a Chicago timeout and a faceoff in the Sharks' zone, Brunette tipped in Hossa's shot from the top of the slot. Rookie Marcus Kruger also scored for the Blackhawks. Jamie McGinn and Justin Braun scored for San Jose. Emery started a second straight game for the first time this season and made 35 saves. He has appeared in Chicago's last four contests - making three starts and one relief appearance - while No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford has struggled. Niemi stopped 31 shots and was sharp for the second time this season against his former teammates. Niemi, who backstopped the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2010, shut out Chicago 1-0 in the teams' only previous game this season - on Nov. 23 in San Jose. Niemi made several close-in saves early in the first to keep it scoreless. McGinn eventually scored the only goal of the first with 3:35 left, thanks to a Chicago defensive breakdown. San Jose's Michal Handzus slid the puck to McGinn, left wide open by Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson at the right edge of the crease. Emery made a pad save on McGinn's first attempt, then got a piece of McGinn's first rebound try before the forward knocked in the loose puck. The Sharks dominated the second period, outshooting Chicago 16-5, but led just 2-1 after 40 minutes. Kruger was credited with a goal that tied it at 7:53 of the second. Hjalmarsson's shot from the point struck Kruger, then hit the right post and clanked into the net. Braun put San Jose back in front, 2-1, just under 2 minutes later on a screened shot from the top of the right circle. Niemi stopped Hossa with a spectacular kick save during a Chicago power play 5:20 into the third to keep the Sharks ahead. Late in the period, Niemi blocked an attempt by Dave Bolland from the edge of the crease and a point-blank screened backhander by Hossa. But Brunette eventually tied it at 2. Emery made a tough glove save on Brent Burns with 3:30 into overtime. NOTES: Chicago D Brent Seabrook played his 500th NHL game. ... San Jose placed D Douglas Murray (right hand) on injured reserve and recalled D Matthew Irwin from Worcester of the AHL. Murray has missed four games. Irwin did not play Sunday. ... Sharks D Jim Vandermeer missed his third game because of an upper-body injury. ... Blackhawks LW Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game .... Former Blackhawks defensemen Chris Chelios and Gary Suter, who will be inducted in to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Chicago on Monday, were present at the game. Other inductees present were retired forward Keith Tkachuk (Winnipeg, Phoenix, St. Louis and Atlanta) and broadcaster Mike Emrick.
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