Blackhawks turn back Sharks in shootout

CHICAGO (AP) — No quibbling from the Chicago Blackhawks.
They’ll take a victory over one of the best teams in the NHL
this season, even if they had to go to a shootout to get it.

After squandering a 4-1 lead, Chicago got shootout goals from
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to beat the San Jose Sharks,
6-5, on Wednesday night and move back into sole possession of
fourth place in the Western Conference.

“We did it the hard way,” Chicago’s Martin Havlat said. “But we
got two points. It doesn’t matter who we played.”

San Jose’s Joe Thornton powered past Brent Seabrook and beat
Nikolai Khabibulin to tie it at 5 with 2:08 left in regulation.

Andrew Ladd had two goals for Chicago, and Dave Bolland added
three assists. Devin Setoguchi scored two goals for the Sharks,
including one with 5:07 left that cut Chicago’s lead to 5-4.

Toews, Havlat and Dustin Byfuglien also scored in regulation for
Chicago. Jamie McGinn and Marc-Edouard Vlasic added goals for
San Jose.

“We’re looking forward to getting back on track,” Ladd said
after Chicago’s second straight win following a five-game
winless streak.

“We’re getting confidence back in this room. Slowly.”

After Kane scored to give Chicago the lead opening the shootout,
a shot by San Jose’s Joe Pavelski hit the pipe and went off.
Toews then beat San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov, and Khabibulin
secured the win by snuffing former Blackhawks star Jeremy

“Habby (Khabibulin) bailed us out tonight with some good saves,”
Ladd said. “And Johnny and Kaner were big in the shootout.
We’re happy with the two points, but it’s not good giving up the
lead at the end.”

Chicago has 89 points, one more than idle Vancouver. The
Blackhawks will face the Canucks on Sunday in a pivotal game
because the fourth-place finisher will get home-ice advantage in
the first round of the playoffs.

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San Jose, slowed by numerous injuries, tied idle Detroit for the
NHL lead with 107 points. Thornton’s powerful drive past
Seabrook allowed the Sharks to get to overtime.

“I just went to the net. That’s pretty much it. I just drove
wide and shot, and it just happened to go to the back of the
net,” Thornton said. “Maybe Brent was a little flatfooted on
that play. He’s a pretty good defenseman.”

Toews’ 30th goal of the season was a strange one and put Chicago
up 4-1 in the second. Cam Barker’s shot from the left circle
went off the skate of Nabokov and then rebounded off Toews’ foot
into the goal – a score upheld by video review.

But the seemingly comfortable margin vanished quickly.

Just 15 seconds later, McGinn scored as his shot bounded off
Khabibulin, hit the skate of Blackhawks defenseman Niklas
Hjalmarsson from behind and went in. Vlasic’s goal on a shot
that hit Seabrook and deflected in got the Sharks to 4-3 later
in the period.

But Ladd’s second goal of the game came early in the final
period, on a give-and-go with Bolland, and restored Chicago’s
margin to two – a lead that didn’t last.

The Blackhawks scored first, 67 seconds into the game, when
Havlat followed in a miss by Bolland after a long slap shot
attempt by Seabrook.

San Jose got it back three minutes later on a power play as
Setoguchi’s long slapper from between the circles got past a
screened Khabibulin.

Byfuglien put Chicago back up, 2-1, when his wrist shot appeared
to fool Nabokov, went off his shoulder and into the net. A
minute and a second later, Ladd rescued a loose puck from in
front of the goal and flicked it past Nabokov for a two-goal