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Chicago Blackhawks beat San Jose Sharks in shootout
A date with the powerful San Jose Sharks one game after snapping a long winless skid isn't the preferred formula for building a winning streak.
But that was the task the Blackhawks faced Wednesday night as the Sharks swam into the United Center in the Hawks' first contest since ending a five-game victory drought.
The Hawks continued their solid play against a team that came in with the second-most points in the NHL in a 6-5 shootout victory in front of a crowd of 21,812. The win was their second in a row and again put the Hawks two points up on the idle Vancouver Canucks for fourth place in the Western Conference. It was the Hawks' first home victory over the Sharks since Oct. 7, 2005, and made them 2-1-1 in the season series.
Andrew Ladd scored two goals and Dave Bolland added three assists to help the Hawks win a game in which the Sharks, who came in short-handed with injuries to several key players, rallied with two late third-period goals to extend the game.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews scored in the shootout, and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped efforts by Joe Pavelski and Jeremy Roenick to clinch the win.
"We capitalized on a lot of chances," said Ladd, who scored in the first and third periods. "We can take some positives from that, and we can learn from the stuff we didn't do right.
"Going through a slump is not easy. I think it's just getting the confidence back, and we're slowly getting that back. We're happy with the two points. That was our main objective."
Martin Havlat, Dustin Byfuglien and Toews also scored goals as the Hawks improved to 39-22-11.
"We had a lot of good things that went on, discounting the late couple against us," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had speed, we had energy and it was nice to get some production right off the bat. We had that 4-1 lead (midway through the second period) and it looked like we were on our way.
"But they're a dangerous team, and their top guys were dangerous at the end."
Devin Setoguchi, who had two goals, and Joe Thornton scored late in the third to tie it and earn the Sharks a point as they battle Detroit for the top spot in the Western Conference.
"We had too slow of a start, but we battled back and got some breaks with the goals," Thornton said. "We're in a dogfight for first place, so all points are important."
The Hawks earned at least one point for the fourth consecutive game as they fight for fourth in the West and home ice in the first round.
"Every win is important," said Havlat, who opened the scoring just 1 minute 7 seconds into the game. "There are 10 games left, and we need to win a few more."