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Hawks speed past Sharks in 4-2 win
SJ outplayed at home, lose in regulation
1/31/09 - By Mike Lee

A determined Chicago Blackhawks team had lots to prove on Saturday night. After getting thumped by the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, the Blackhawks handed the Sharks their second regulation loss on HP Pavilion ice this season. Chicago outplayed the Sharks in every facet of the game, taking a 4-2 win after opening up on San Jose in the 2nd period.

The win was the first for the Blackhawsk over San Jose since October of 2005, and the first win at HP Pavilion in 6 years.

"They were faster then we were," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "I thought we were second to a lot of pucks. We spent any type of energy that we had in our end defending, so when we were on offense we were tired and looking for a change."

Jonathan Toews continued his hot hand against the Sharks by scoring a pair of goals in the win. Toews wasted little time getting on the board, converting just 48 seconds into the game. Toews raced in on net and chipped a shot past Evgeni Nabokov, who lost for only the 6th time in regulation this season.

The goal also put an end to Nabokov's franchise record scoreless streak, which now stands at 170 minutes, 58 seconds.

Things turned whacky midway through the period, when Kris Versteeg cracked Jonathan Cheechoo across the face with a high stick. Referees Don Koharski and Chris Lee missed the infraction, so play continued. David Bolland scored on the sequence, but the Sharks protested to both officials. Linesmen are allowed to call high sticking infractions when consulted, so a consultation with linesmen Ryan Galloway and Don Henderson confirmed the penalty. Cheechoo was also brought out of the dressing room to show off his bloody mug.

Versteeg was sent off with the double minor, and the Bolland goal was taken off the board. The sharks would know the game up on the ensuing power play, when Christian Ehrhoff scored his third goal in as many games.

Ehrhoff's goal came before the first of Versteeg's penalties expired, so the Sharks had another 2 minutes to try and turn the tide on the game, but the power play came up blank.

That was a turning point for the Blackhawks, who stepped up the tempo to end the period, then really turned up the heat after the first intermission.

A Duncan Keith slashing penalty put the Sharks on the power play at 6:58 of the 2nd period, but a series of miscues would result in another Chicago lead. Ehrhoff tried putting a puck on net from the left point, but he whiffed on the shot, coughing it up to Bolland at the blueline. Ehrhoff had to chase Bolland down, but his attempt to swat the puck away upended the Blackhawks forward.

Bolland was able to get a shot on net while sliding on his backside, but Nabokov gave up a big rebound. Versteeg beat Joe Pavelski down the ice and easily deposited the rebound in to the net for the short handed goal.

Nabokov would take a tripping penalty later in the period, upending Patrick Kane in front of the net. Chicago would cash in a minute later when Toews roofed a shot over Nabokov's left should from a tight angle down low.

Ehrhoff would help the Blackhawks extend their lead to 4-1 with an interference penalty that put Chicago back on the power play midway through the 3rd period. Keith would pump a shot past Nabokov from the left dot for another power play goal.

Milan Michalek answered 10 seconds after the Keith goal by taking a feed from Pavelski while splitting two Blackhawk defenseman in the slot. Michalek raced in on net and put a backhand shot past Khabibulin for his 14th goal of the season.

Dustin Byfuglien took a tripping penalty with 1:42 remaining in regulation and Sharks head coach Todd McLellan immediately pulled Nabokov for the extra attacker. San Jose came no closer than a Cheechoo shot that Khabibulin denied with a block that trickled through the crease, only to be swept away by Keith.

"It was a huge game and I like the way we played tonight," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "We had a lot of enthusiasm and we had a lot of puck support and we won a lot of puck battles. We did some good things and this is not an easy place to come play"

Game Notes:

Dan Boyle missed his 3rd consecutive game, continuing to nurse what has been rumored to be a wrist injury.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
CHI 1 2 1 4
SJ 1 0 1 2
1st period - 1, CHI, Toews 15 (Ladd, Campbell), 0:48. 2, SJ, Ehrhoff 5 (Clowe, Pavelski), 12:06, (pp).
2nd period - 3, CHI, Versteeg 14 (Bolland), 7:56, (sh). 4, CHI, Towes 16 (Kane, Barker), 16:15, (pp).
3rd period - 5, CHI, Keith 6 (Seabrook, Versteeg), 14:34, (pp). 6, SJ, Michalek 14 (Pavelski, Blake), 14:44.
Penalties
1st period - Versteeg, CHI (high sticking - double minor), 10:59; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 17:42.
2nd period - Keith, CHI (slashing), 6:58; Nabokov, SJ (tripping), 15:06.
3rd period - Barker, CHI (hooking), 5:15; Ehrhoff, SJ (interference), 13:08; Byfuglien, CHI (tripping), 18:18.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
CHI - Khabibulin 34 32
SJ - Nabokov 29 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CHI 9 9 11 29
SJ 12 9 13 34
Power Play Conversion
CHI 2 of 3
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Toews
Duncan Keith
Kris Versteeg
Attendence
17,496
Officials
Referees: Koharski, Lee. Linesmen: Galloway, Henderson.

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