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Sharks extend win streak to 8
SJ takes 4-3 shootout decision in Chitown
3/26/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Chicago Blackhawks have nothing to play for except pride. After being eliminated from playoff contention last week the Blackhawks are trying to close out their season. The Sharks got a taste of a prideful team that played beyond their situation, and fought tooth and nail with San Jose. Chicago tied the game in the last 2:22 of regulation and turned in one heck of an overtime period, but the Sharks grabbed their 8th consecutive win with a Kevin Labanc goal in the shootout en route to a 4-3 victory.

With two points on the line, it didn't matter how the Sharks won, so long as they did win. Labanc threw about 15 moves at Blackhawks goaltender Anton Forsberg before lifting a backhand chance into the Chicago goal. Forsberg had surrendered a goal to Logan Couture, the Sharks first skater in the shootout. Patrick Sharp followed up his big tying goal at the end of regulation with a goal in the shootout, but it was Labanc's chance that sealed the victory for San Jose.

San Jose opened the game with Marcus Sorensen's 5th goal of the season 9:15 into the game. Jannick Hansen carried the puck up the right wing before circling toward the back of the Blackhawks net. Hansen dropped the puck out to the right side of the net, allowing Sorensen to swoop in and put a shot past Forsberg.

Alex DeBrincat tied the game 6 minutes later, swiping home a rebound off a Vinnie Hinostroza shot. Brandon Saad carried the puck into the Sharks zone up the left side, then left a drop pass for Hinstroza. The centerman pumped a shot on net from 25 feet out that Martin Jones stopped, but the long rebound deflected right to DeBrincat on the right wing.

Connor Murphy staked the Blackhawks to their lone lead of the game with 3:10 left in the opening period on a long shot from the right point that was deflected past Jones by sharks defenseman Brendan Dillon. The defenseman looked as if he was trying to avoid being hit by the shot, but it ended up catching the knee high stick blade, angling up over Jones glove hand.

San Jose bided their time until late in the 2nd period to strike. Evender Kane scored his the goal as a Shark with 3:21 left in the period on a breakaway chance. Kane bolted up the left wing after recognizing a Blackhawks turnover in the Sharks zone. Mikkel Boedker sent that turrnover up ice to Kane, who squeezed a shot between Forsberg's pads for his 28th goal of the season.

Tomas Hertl put the Sharks up 3-2 at 15:41 of the 3rd period after Barclay Goodrow paid the price along the right wing boards to get the puck up to his linemate. Hertl gathered Goodrow's pass and sliced up the wing and lifted a shot over Forsberg for his 21st goal of the season.

That goal looked as if it would stand up as the game winner until the Sharks biggest gaff of the night. With the puck cycling behind the Sharks goal, San Jose forgot about Kane, who parked himself in the slot and waited for DeBrincat to feed him the puck. The Blackhawks forward snapped a shot that Jones got a piece of, but it trickled over the goal line to tie it with 2 minutes and change left in regulation.

That goal allowed Chicago to extend the game to overtime, which was worth the price of admission alone. Both teams had numerous chances to end it, but several spectacular goaltending plays kept the game tied.

Nick Schmaltz started the crazy 5 minute game extension with a breakaway chance that Jones gobbled up. Kane unleashed a shot that Forsberg did not control, but the goaltender was able to cover with a snow angel before the Sharks could get a stick on it.

Joe Pavelski had a golden chance to end things with a shot from the right side with 3:10 left, but Forsberg gloved the shot that was headed near side.

Kane had yet another breakaway chance, but Forsberg denied the Sharks forward who looked to be running out of gas at the end of the play. Jones had to make a circus round-house save in the last minute before Justin Braun gloved the deflection out of the air.

San Jose would end it on Couture and Labanc's shots, kicking off the Sharks roadtrip exactly as they had hoped.

Game Notes:

* Evander Kane led all skaters with 10 shots on goal. Kane recorded 6 shots in the 2nd period alone.

* Jannick Hansen continues to generate offense for the Sharks. His assist on Marcus Sorensen's goal was his 11th of the season.

* Every Blackhawk skater recorded a block shot, with the exception of Victor Ejdsell, Matthew Highmore, David Kampf and Patrick Kane.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 1 1 1 0 1 4
CHI 2 0 1 0 0 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Sorensen 5 (Hansen), 9:15. 2, CHI, DeBrincat 26 (Hinostroza, Saad), 15:32. 3, CHI, Murphy 2 (unassisted), 16:50.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Kane 28 (Boedker), 16:39.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Hertl 21 (Goodrow), 15:41. 6, CHI, Sharp 10 (DeBrincat, Gustafsson), 17:38.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - CHI - Kane (miss), DeBrincat (miss), Sharp (goal), Schmaltz (miss). SJ: Couture (goal), Pavelski (miss), Tierney (miss), Labanc (goal).
1st period - Seabrook, CHI (holding), 3:32; Burns, SJ (tripping), 13:20.
2nd period - Kampf, CHI (holding), 9:40.
3rd period - Martinsen, CHI (hooking), 4:04; Couture, SJ (hooking), 7:31.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 31 28
CHI - Forsberg 37 34
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 10 15 8 4 37
CHI 11 10 8 2 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
CHI 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Evander Kane
Alex DeBrincat
Tomas Hertl
United Center - 21,712
Referees: Kozari, Pochmara. Linesmen: Cherrey, Daisy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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