The Chicago Blackhawks had not been playing their best hockey, but a win over the Western Conference's top team their last time out has restored their confidence.
The Blackhawks hope to carry some momentum from that victory into February when they continue their eight-game road trip Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers.
Chicago (27-13-8) owns the fourth-best record in the West, but the last few weeks have been a struggle. After posting the league's second-best December record at 10-1-1, the Blackhawks went 7-6-1 in January. They had trouble generating offense, scoring 38 goals in the month after tallying 48 in December.
Chicago wrapped up January in exceptional fashion, though, defeating San Jose 4-2 on Saturday. The Blackhawks, who hadn't beaten the Sharks in the previous 13 meetings, handed San Jose just its second regulation home loss since last February.
"We can be happy about this win and celebrate it the next few days," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after scoring twice. "We played a solid game from start to finish and now it's time to take our game to another level."
Chicago, coming off a 5-2 defeat at Los Angeles on Thursday night, played crisp, sharp hockey from the drop of the puck.
"It was a huge game for us," said coach Joel Quenneville, whose team is 2-1-0 on its longest trip of the season. "We played with a lot of enthusiasm, we were on the puck and had good speed. All aspects of our game was rock solid."
Chicago also excelled in all aspects of the game in its last meeting with Edmonton (25-21-3).
The Blackhawks defeated the Oilers 9-2 on Dec. 16 at Rexall Place. Seven Chicago players scored, and Troy Brouwer led the way with two goals and an assist.
The seven-goal margin of defeat tied an Edmonton franchise record for home games, which was broken in last Tuesday's 10-2 loss to Buffalo.
The Oilers, one of five teams with 53 points that are in the mix for the final four Western Conference playoff spots, have been in a bit of a funk lately. They've scored six goals in losing two of three games since the All-Star break after tallying 13 goals in winning their previous three contests.
Edmonton fell 2-1 to Nashville on Sunday, with Ales Hemsky scoring his team-leading 16th goal to provide the Oilers with their only offense. Hemsky has six goals in his last five games.
"We really have to work on being more consistent," defenseman Tom Gilbert said. "We don't want to fall back into the habit of winning one, losing one. Going back and forth when you are trying to catch teams for a playoff run. We have to get back on the same page again."
Dwayne Roloson made 27 saves Sunday, and has stopped 56 of 59 shots in his last two games. He allowed three goals on eight shots in the first 10:17 before being pulled in the loss to the Sabres.
Roloson is 0-1-0 with a 4.80 goals-against average in the two games against Chicago this season.
The Blackhawks' Nikolai Khabibulin made 33 saves Saturday for his second straight win on the road trip. He's 8-2-0 with a 2.52 GAA in 11 starts away from Chicago since Nov. 18.
Khabibulin stopped 31 shots in the victory at Edmonton in December, and made 23 saves in the Blackhawks' 3-0 win over the Oilers on Oct. 22 - his only shutout of the season. He's 5-1-1 with a 1.42 GAA in seven starts versus Edmonton since the start of the 2006-07 season.