San Jose at Chicago

Western takeover: Nabokov, Sharks climb past 'Hawks in conference wire reports

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks controlled the play for nearly the entire game against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night, but still fell short.

Evgeni Nabokov made 45 saves, and Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley each had a goal and an assist to lead the Sharks to their third consecutive win, 3-2 over Chicago.

Jason Demers also scored for the Sharks, who moved ahead of the Blackhawks into first place in the Western Conference, and snapped Chicago's four-game overall and five-game home winning streaks.

Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who outshot the Sharks 47-14.

"We didn't have many chances, so we were lucky to create enough to win the game," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "Certainly when you look at it in the big picture, we didn't play near well-enough.

"We basically robbed one here tonight and we can chalk that one up to Nabby."

Nabokov lost a shutout bid early in the third when Kane finally scored on the Blackhawks' 34th shot to make it 2-1.

"We let Nabby do all the work," Demers said. "We can't let him do that every game. He's human, too."

Chicago's puck-possession game was aided by seven power plays. That helped boost the Blackhawks' shot total, but they failed to convert any of the chances and allowed a short-handed score by Thornton.

"Taking all the penalties slowed us down, but we battled," Nabokov said. "We needed our big guys to score, and they did."

San Jose capitalized on Chicago's mistakes to avenge 4-3 and 7-2 losses to the Blackhawks in November.

McLellan had reassembled a line of top forwards Heatley, Thornton and Patrick Marleau to help spark San Jose to a 4-2 win at Dallas on Monday. McLellan kept the trio together against Chicago and it paid off.

"They scored two big goals and set up the winner," McLellan said. "They contributed with the penalty killing. Without them we'd have no offense."

Chicago's Cristobal Huet made 11 saves, but his shutout streak ended at 143:31 when Heatley opened the scoring 3:18 into the first. Huet had 3-0 shutouts in his two previous starts.

Huet had not permitted a goal since Buffalo's Clarke MacArthur beat him late in the second period of the Sabres' 2-1 win on Dec. 11.

"We outshot them, but we couldn't create the top, top chances," Hossa said. "We tried to shoot from bad angles and chaos in front of the net, but their goalie played well.

"We have to learn from this," he added. "We have to be more poised with the puck and trust each other more."

San Jose's three-game winning streak comes on the heels of an 0-2-3 slide, its longest winless slump this season.

The Blackhawks outshot the Sharks 15-4 in the first, but trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes. Heatley put San Jose ahead early when he slipped around Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, took Dan Boyle's feed and beat Huet with a high shot on the short side.

In the second period, Chicago outshot San Jose 11-3, but the Sharks took a 2-0 lead on Thornton's short-handed goal at 5:10. Thornton is the NHL's leading scorer.

San Jose's Joe Pavelski picked off a pass by Chicago's Kris Versteeg at center ice, and then moved in on a 2-on-1 break with Thornton. Pavelski slipped a pass to Thornton, who lofted a rising shot over Huet's left shoulder.

Kane cut it to 2-1 at 4:10 of the third to end Nabokov's bid for a third shutout this season.

Hossa dug the puck out of the left corner, centered it and Kane knocked it in from a goal-mouth scramble.

Just 20 seconds later, Demers made it 3-1 following a Chicago coverage breakdown. Set up by Thornton's pass, Demers beat Huet on the glove side with a high shot from the slot.

Hossa slipped in a goal from a sharp angle during a 4-on-4 with 1:51 left in the third to cut it to 3-2.


  • The Blackhawks have converted just three of their past 36 power-play chances.
  • Huet's longest personal shutout streak is 173:30, set over four games with Montreal in February 2006. His previous back-to-back shutouts were in March 2006 with the Canadiens.
  • Chicago D Cam Barker missed his second game with a lower-body injury and LW Ben Eager missed his third with an upper-body injury.
  • San Jose RW Brad Staubitz missed his 14th game with a facial injury.
  • D Jay Leach was a healthy scratch.
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Evgeni Nabokov prepares to pounce on the puck as the Sharks goalie finishes with 45 saves in the win.  (AP)
Evgeni Nabokov prepares to pounce on the puck as the Sharks goalie finishes with 45 saves in the win. (AP)
San Jose  (22-8-7) «1113
Chicago (23-9-3)0022
Three Stars
E. Nabokov

Saves: 45
Save Pct.: .957
P. Kane

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
J. Thornton

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
03:18Dany Heatley (22), Wrist Shot. Assist: Boyle
05:10Short - Joe Thornton (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Pavelski
04:10Patrick Kane (11), Backhand Shot. Assist: Hossa
04:30Jason Demers (2), Snap Shot. Assist: Thornton, Heatley
18:09Marian Hossa (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kane, Keith
Penalty Summary
01:15Ortmeyer, 2 min, Holding
12:08Clowe, 2 min, Tripping
14:57Demers, 2 min, Tripping
16:00Brouwer, 2 min, Hooking
19:20Versteeg, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
19:51Thornton, 2 min, Interference
03:43McLaren, 5 min, Fighting
03:43Bickell, 5 min, Fighting
03:43McGinn, 2 min, Tripping
08:07Sharp, 2 min, Roughing
10:31Huskins, 2 min, Hooking
17:00Byfuglien, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
05:38Brouwer, 2 min, High-Sticking
13:09Thornton, 2 min, Cross-Checking
17:06Blake, 2 min, Roughing
17:06Toews, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
San Jose43714
Evgeni Nabokov59:44452
Cristobal Huet57:46113
Game Information
Attendance - 21614
Referees - Steve Kozari, Eric Furlatt
Linesmen - Andy McElman, Dan Schachte
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