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game recap

Blackhawks defeat Sharks, close gap in Western wild-card race

Kubalik scores 30th goal of season, Crawford makes 34 saves for Chicago

by Brandon Cain / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Kubalik's blistering one-timer

SJS@CHI: Kubalik goes top shelf off Dach's slick feed

Kirby Dach drops a pass to Dominik Kubalik, who hammers a one-timer top shelf over Aaron Dell's glove for a 6-2 lead in the 3rd period

  • 00:47 •

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks gained ground in the Western Conference wild-card race with a 6-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at United Center on Wednesday.

The Blackhawks (32-30-8) pulled within six points of the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks for the second Western wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We increased the pace of our game, the tempo of our game in the second [period]," Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We were skating, we had excellent back pressure. Our transition was much cleaner than the first. We built the momentum off it."

 

[WATCH: All Sharks vs. Blackhawks highlights]

 

Patrick Kane scored twice, rookie forward Dominik Kubalik scored his 30th goal of the season, and Alex DeBrincat had three assists for Chicago. Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his 10th straight start.

Chicago had the 30th-ranked power play in the NHL (14.5 percent) and was 0-for-14 in the past five games but scored twice against the Sharks' No. 1 penalty kill (86.4 percent).

"Much better tempo [tonight]," Colliton said. "Things were happening quicker, quick support, we moved the puck quicker. Shooting mentality, obviously the first goal we just were willing to shoot the puck and we had a screen and that helps.

"Then I thought the breakout, not everyone was successful but just a much quicker tempo and speed and obviously we scored off it and hopefully we can build some confidence and momentum from what they did." 

Video: SJS@CHI: Kane taps DeBrincat's nice feed home for PPG

Evander Kane and Timo Meier each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks (29-36-5), who have lost four straight and are 15 points out of a playoff position. Aaron Dell made 39 saves in his fifth straight loss.

"I liked the way we had our jump in the first period," San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. "I thought we went out in the second period and did exactly what we didn't want to do, which is take two penalties in the first seven or eight minutes."

Video: SJS@CHI: Kane nets redirection from slot for PPG

Kane scored on a deflection on a 5-on-3 power play to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 10:49 of the first period. Duncan Keith tied it 1-1 with a shot from the point on the power play at 4:33 of the second period. DeBrincat sent a cross-ice pass to Patrick Kane, who scored a power-play goal on a tap-in to make it 2-1 at 16:33. 

"It's nice to come in with speed and go to the net," Kane said. "That play has been there for us a couple times this year, we just never really connected on it. Good play by [DeBrincat] to create some space and put it right on my tape and [I] decided to push it in."

Brandon Saad increased the lead to 3-1 with a shot through Dell's five-hole at 17:58.

Video: SJS@CHI: Saad slips DeBrincat's pass past Dell

Alex Nylander banked a one-timer off the post 1:31 into the third period for a 4-1 lead. Meier cut it to 4-2 at 6:39 when he lifted a shot over Crawford's glove. Patrick Kane scored his second on a rebound for a 5-2 lead at 16:19 before Kubalik scored from the slot at 18:03 for the 6-2 final.

 

They said it

"We're obviously banged up on the blue line, we had some mismatches up front, some guys playing in spots they probably shouldn't be, and we got exposed. There's no doubt about it." -- Sharks coach Bob Boughner

"It's nice to get that going. You look at that second period and we're up 3-1 and we have two power-play goals. It's something that's been missing all year, but it was good tonight." -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane

 

Need to know

Evander Kane has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past seven games. … Sharks forward Joe Thornton played in his 1,636th game to pass Scott Stevens for ninth in NHL history. … Meier has six points (one goal, five assists) during a four-game point streak. … Patrick Kane has five goals in his past five games. … Chicago defenseman Nicolas Beaudin and forward Brandon Hagel each made his NHL debut. Beaudin had two shots on goal, two hits and two blocked shots in 17:01, and Hagel had four shots on goal in 11:48. … Kubalik is the fifth rookie in Blackhawks history to score 30 goals. Steve Larmer (43, 1982-83), Darryl Sutter (40, 1980-81), Artemi Panarin (30, 2015-16) and Eric Daze (30, 1995-96) were the others. 

 

What's next

Sharks: At the St. Louis Blues on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-MW, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

Blackhawks: Host the Ottawa Senators on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)

Video: Kane's two goals lead Blackhawks past Sharks

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