Skip to content
Chicago Blackhawks defeat San Jose Sharks
The Blackhawks headed to Las Vegas for a little R&R after taking on the NHL's top team in its own rink.
If they do as well at the tables as they did against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, they'll continue their eight-game road trip this week with some extra spending money.
The Hawks did what few others have done recently. They not only scored on Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but they defeated San Jose 4-2 at the HP Pavilion in one of their top efforts this season.
Jonathan Toews scored two goals, Kris Versteeg added a short-handed score and Nikolai Khabibulin was solid in net as the Hawks beat the Sharks for the first time in 14 games and for the first time in San Jose since 2003.
It was San Jose's second loss in regulation at home this season. The Hawks, who improved to 2-1-0 on the trip, snapped Nabokov's shutout streak at 170 minutes 58 seconds and broke an eight-game losing skid in San Jose in front of a crowd of 17,496.
"That's a big game," Versteeg said. "That's the best team in the league. It was a good measuring stick for us and I thought we did pretty well."
Toews thwarted Nabokov's bid for three consecutive shutouts at the 58-second mark when the Hawks captain knocked a rebound of an Andrew Ladd shot into an open net for his 15th goal of the season.
"It's a big win in a lot of ways," Toews said. "We had some bad luck last time we were in this building, We had the lead in the third period and gave it away. This time we were pretty determined not to do that."
The Hawks withstood what could have been a potential momentum-killer midway through the first. A goal by Dave Bolland that appeared to give them a 2-0 lead was disallowed after a linesman reported an earlier high-sticking after the play was over.
Instead of the two-goal lead, Versteeg was sent to the box for four minutes, although it appeared it was Patrick Kane who got his stick up and cut the Sharks' Jonathan Cheechoo.
The Sharks took advantage of the power play and the absence of Versteeg, one of the Hawks' to penalty killers, at 12:06 when Christian Ehrhoff scored to tie it 1-1.
Despite the potentially disastrous turn of events, the Hawks continued their fast pace and cashed in twice in the second period.
While killing a slashing penalty to Duncan Keith, Dave Bolland picked up a loose puck after Ehrhoff fanned on a shot and was off to the races with a partial breakaway. Ehrhoff tripped Bolland as he closed in on Nabokov, but the center got a shot away while sprawled to the ice and Versteeg was there to knock in the rebound at 7:56 for a 2-1 lead. It was the Hawks' fifth goal this season while a man short.
Toews' second goal of the night came with the Hawks on a power play. Kane found the Hawks captain down low with a pass and Toews flipped a shot over Nabokov's glove at 16:15 for a 3-1 advantage. Kane nearly gave the Hawks a three-goal lead but rifled a shot off the right post with 5:38 remaining in the period.
"We had a setback in the first period," Toews said. "I think for most teams that can be discouraging to have a goal taken back on you. As long as we keep playing the way we know we can and do the right things as a team we knew the goals were going to keep coming."
Duncan Keith scored a power-play goal with a slap shot from the top of the left circle with 5:26 remaining for a 4-1 lead, but the Sharks' Milan Michalek tallied 10 seconds later to again cut the deficit to two goals.
One-timers: Versteeg returned to action after missing the last two games with an injured finger. The NHL's rookie scoring leader wasn't back in his familiar right wing position, but instead was at center between Kane and Dustin Byfuglien. "I've played center a cool of periods this year and.
I was drafted as a center man so I'm a little familiar," said Versteeg, who was injured when he was slashed by St. Louis' Keith Tkachuk on Jan. 21. "I've always been pretty good at making plays and passing the puck so it might benefit us."
Defenseman Aaron Johnson and forwards Pascal Pelletier and Craig Adams were scratches.