SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Patrick Sharp scored his first two goals since January and Duncan Keith also broke a long scoring drought to help the Chicago Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 6-2 on Saturday.
Brandon Saad broke a tie with a third-period goal, and Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won six of their last eight games. Corey Crawford made 33 saves.
Melker Karlsson and Joe Thornton scored for the Sharks, who began the day three points behind Los Angeles for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Antti Niemi made 24 saves.
A tight game turned to Chicago’s favor in the opening 5 minutes of the third period. It started when Teuvo Teravainen flipped a puck into the neutral zone. Sharks defenseman Mirco Mueller tripped while trying to play the puck and that sent Saad in alone on Niemi for his 21st goal of the season.
Just a few minutes later, Brad Richards set up Bickell all alone in the slot to put Chicago up 4-2.
Sharp, who had not scored in 19 games since Jan. 28, added a late power-play goal to seal the game.
San Jose now heads off on a seven-game road trip hoping to fight its way back into playoff position. It’s a tense time around the Sharks, who are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season and have had to deal with a public spat between Thornton and general manager Doug Wilson.
After the San Jose Mercury News reported Thursday night that Wilson told season-ticket holders that the reason Thornton was stripped of the captaincy last summer was because he “lashes out” at teammates when under stress, Thornton said Friday that Wilson needs to “shut his mouth” and “stop lying.”
The teams traded power-play goals in the second. Keith ended his 18-game drought since Jan. 30 with a blast from the top of the circle to give Chicago the lead.
Later in the period, Thornton’s shot deflected off Brent Seabrook’s skate and past Crawford for the equalizer.
The Sharks dominated play early, getting nine of the first 10 shots on goal and could have been leading except for strong play from Crawford and a disallowed goal when Joe Pavelski was ruled to have interfered with Crawford.
But the Blackhawks struck first when Sharp sped past Justin Braun on a breakaway. Sharp’s initial shot was stopped by Niemi but he lifted the rebound over the downed goalie to end a 19-game goal drought since Jan. 28.
Chicago controlled the play for a stretch after that but San Jose got the equalizer when Karlsson knocked in the rebound of Matt Irwin’s shot for his 12th goal.
NOTES: Chicago F Joakim Nordstrom served the first game of a two-game suspension for a hit on Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Thursday. Former Sharks F Andrew Desjardins took his place in the lineup. … Sharks D Matt Irwin returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
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