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Blackhawks vs. Sharks: 3 stars of the night

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The Blackhawks managed to put together a solid win at home, against a tough Western Conference opponent in the San Jose Sharks. Let's look at who was key in the victory.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey is a funny thing.

So often this year, we've seen the Chicago Blackhawks go out and dominate in the shot department, run the table in Corsi, and still lose. We saw it again on Friday night against the Washington Capitals. Yet, the game that saw the end of the Hawks' home struggles came on a night where they actually trailed in Corsi. While that may be an invitation for the anti-analytics folks to have a field day, let's not go crazy here. The Hawks developed their lead early on and dictated the shot attempts, before the Sharks started finding that extra energy and motivation that comes with playing from behind in the second period.

Regardless, it was a nice win for the Hawks and a much needed two points for a team that has struggled mightily at home in this recent stretch. Within this game, there were certainly some successes, including one major first for a certain rookie defenseman. Let's take a look:

3. Jonathan Toews

His goal was an empty-netter, but he continued to do things that he does every single night. He won 62 percent of his draws, including winning an offensive zone draw on TvR's goal that opened up the scoring in the first. He ended the night with a goal and an assist, a plus-2 rating, and a 52 percent in the CF% department. His line, with Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg for the majority of the night, posted the best possession numbers for the game.

2. Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nice game for Hjalmarsson, both in the box score and on the possession sheet. He scored his first goal of the year and finished at a plus-3 for the night, good for tops on the team. On a night where no one was particularly brilliant, in terms of Corsi, Hjammer led the way, with a Corsi% up near 59 percent. His goal was a nice looking one, as he moved off the point to receive a pass from Marian Hossa before skating down into the slot and flipping one past Niemi to give the Hawks the 3-0 lead.

1. Trevor van Riemsdyk

No, his possession numbers weren't the greatest, but he did score his first National Hockey League goal to open up the scoring in the first period. Toews won the faceoff back to TvR at the point, who ripped it past former Hawk Antti Niemi. Joel Quenneville said after the game that it might have been Kris Versteeg's goal, because of course he did. That's sure to light a fire under the ass of many a Blackhawks fan. Nonetheless, an impressive milestone for a player who has done a fine job early on, assuming it sticks.

Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.