CHICAGO – In a battle between the Western Conference’s two first place teams, Chicago got past the Sharks at United Center on Sunday, 4-1.
Playing their fourth road game in six nights, the Sharks concluded their trip with a 3-1-0 mark. Their four-game winning streak was snapped, while NHL-leading Chicago captured its fifth in a row.
Ryan Hartman scored the third period game winner.
After Vinnie Hinostroza and Mikkel Boedker battled in the circle on a draw in Chicago’s offensive zone, the puck squirted to Hartman. In one motion, the young winger grabbed the loose puck and swung a wrist shot through Martin Jones at 6:59 to put Chicago ahead to stay, 2-1.
Hinostroza added insurance with 2:20 left, when he slipped a wrist shot from the circle through Jones’ pads on a two-on-one. Patrick Kane whipped in an empty netter in the final minute.
The Sharks lost in Chicago for the ninth time in their last 11 games. The teams meet once more at SAP Center on Jan. 31.
After a scoreless first in which the Sharks didn’t get a shot on goal for the final 12:39, Joe Pavelski put San Jose ahead, 1-0, at 1:13 of the second period. The captain redirected a shot-pass from the point by Brent Burns for his 11th of the year.
The Sharks had a number of chances to increase their lead throughout the second, including a pair of prime chances for Pavelski on a power play with Duncan Keith off for interference. Patrick Marleau’s redirection was denied by Scott Darling with about 5:30 to go in the second, and Timo Meier hit the goal post about a minute later on a tip try off of Joonas Donskoi’s stick.
Chicago weathered the storm, though, and tied it on Keith’s slapper from high in the zone at 16:49. It was the former Norris Trophy winner’s first goal of the season.
Joel Ward returned to the Sharks’ lineup after he was a healthy scratch on Friday in Montreal. He skated on the fourth line with Tommy Wingels and Melker Karlsson, while Micheal Haley came out.
Karlsson was forced from the game three minutes into the third period, when trying to get up from the ice he was inadvertently clipped in the head by Chicago’s Tyler Motte. He remained down for several moments and was visibly woozy as he was helped to the dressing room.