Chicago at San Jose

Blackhawks edge Sharks in OT to claim battle of top two teams in NHL

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Chicago Blackhawks finished the game the way they started it, overwhelming the San Jose Sharks in a matchup between the NHL's top two teams.

Troy Brouwer scored his second goal of the game 1:37 into overtime and the Blackhawks fought back after blowing a three-goal lead to beat San Jose 4-3 on Thursday night in a possible playoff preview.

"It was a real big game," Brouwer said. "We wanted first place and to get first place, you have to beat these guys. We had a great start, had a hiccup in the middle of the game, but we were able to keep our composure and pull together at the end."

Brouwer scored one of three first-period goals for Chicago, which took a 3-0 lead before the midway point of the frame but needed overtime to beat the Sharks for the third time in four meetings.

The Sharks managed to stay one point ahead of Chicago for the most points in the NHL. This was the final regular-season matchup between the teams. If the standings remain this way, the next time the teams could meet would be in the Western Conference finals.

"For us to beat them in the playoffs we're going to have to beat them here," Brouwer said. "It gives us a little bit of confidence if we have to face them in the playoffs."

This game had the intensity of a playoff matchup, especially in the third period, when San Jose tied the game and then fought off a late charge from Chicago to force overtime.

Brouwer ended it there, as he faked a shot after skating into the offensive zone, moved to the middle and beat Evgeni Nabokov with a wrist shot.

"We found a way to empty the tank in the third there and found that energy that we needed to finish the game," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We were just looking for one break and we had a couple of good chances on that power play. It was a great shot by Brouwer. We were just waiting for that break to go in."

Nabokov had stopped 32 consecutive shots since the early three-goal barrage, turning aside numerous flurries in front in the third period. He also helped kill off a late power play that went into the opening minute of overtime.

Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won four consecutive games in San Jose. Cristobal Huet made 34 saves.

"It was a great test for us," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It had the playoff atmosphere going here in the building."

Joe Pavelski scored the first two goals for San Jose and Manny Malhotra tied it when he tipped in Rob Blake's shot from the point less than five minutes into the third period. San Jose had its five-game winning streak snapped.

"We're all going to talk about how hard we fought and we worked our way back into the game but that start was unacceptable," coach Todd McLellan said. "The mistakes we made the first five minutes of the game, that's not a characteristic of ours and is unacceptable. Yeah, we fought back and we are proud of that but you're not going to win many games against good teams in this league with that kind of start."

The Blackhawks took control early by scoring three goals in a span of 3:21 in the first period. It was reminiscent of the teams' first meeting here when Chicago broke out to a 7-0 lead before allowing two-late goals. Chicago scored two goals before San Jose managed to put a shot on net, even though the Sharks had an early power play.

Byfuglien got it started when he one-timed a pass to the slot from Patrick Kane past Nabokov for the first goal. Only 48 seconds later, Joe Thornton lost the puck at center ice to set up a goal by Brouwer. That prompted Sharks coach Todd McLellan to call his timeout but it did nothing to slow the Blackhawks.

Ladd knocked a rebound past Nabokov just over two minutes later to finish the quick barrage and give Chicago a 3-0 lead.

"The mistakes we made ended up in the back of our net," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. "They are very highly skilled. You make a mistake and they can capitalize on it."

Notes

  • Dany Heatley's assist on Pavelski's second goal was the 600th point of his career.
  • Former Sharks D Brian Campbell was booed almost every time he touched the puck for the Blackhawks.
  • Chicago will finish an eight-game road trip Saturday at Carolina.
  • San Francisco Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, wearing a black Sharks jersey, dropped the ceremonial first puck.
  • Chicago didn't score on its two power-play chances and finished the season 0-for-13 with the man advantage against San Jose.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Troy Brouwer (22) is mobbed by his teammates after scoring the winner 97 seconds into overtime. (AP)
Troy Brouwer (22) is mobbed by his teammates after scoring the winner 97 seconds into overtime. (AP)

Scoreboard
Chicago  (37-13-4) «30014
San Jose (35-10-9)11103
Three Stars
J. Pavelski
SJ


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
T. Brouwer
CHI


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
M. Malhotra
SJ


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:02Dustin Byfuglien (14), Slap Shot. Assist: Kane, Campbell
05:50Troy Brouwer (16), Wrist Shot. Assist: Toews, Keith
08:23Andrew Ladd (10), Tip-In. Assist: Sharp, Hossa
11:52Joe Pavelski (13), Tip-In. Assist: Vlasic, Marleau
2ND PERIOD
17:40Power Play - Joe Pavelski (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Demers, Heatley
3RD PERIOD
04:56Manny Malhotra (9), Tip-In. Assist: Blake, Setoguchi
OT
01:37Troy Brouwer (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Hjalmarsson
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:36Eager, 2 min, Charging
09:35Murray, 2 min, Interference
17:36Keith, 2 min, Interference
2ND PERIOD
16:40Seabrook, 2 min, Interference
3RD PERIOD
18:33Thornton, 2 min, Delay of Game
OT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Chicago9101837
San Jose7181237
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Cristobal Huet 61:36343
Evgeni Nabokov 61:27354
Game Information
Attendance - 17562
Referees - Dan O'Halloran, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Derek Nansen, Tony Sericolo
 
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