The Blackhawks gained ground in the Western Conference wild card race with a 6-2 win against the Sharks on the back of three goals in the second and third periods on Wednesday at United Center.
Chicago pulled within six points of the Predators and Canucks for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Surprisingly, the Blackhawks’ 30th-ranked power play scored twice against San Jose’s No. 1 ranked penalty kill. Chicago was 0-for-14 on the power play in its past five games.
Alex DeBrincat had three assists, Patrick Kane scored twice and Jonathan Toews, Alex Nylander and Duncan Keith each had two points as well. Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his 10th straight start.
Defenseman Nicolas Beaudin and forward Brandon Hagel made their NHL debuts for Chicago. Beaudin had two shots on goal and two blocks in 17:01 on the top pairing with Duncan Keith, while Hagel had four shots on goal and one takeaway in 11:48.
Keith: "I enjoyed playing with Beaudin tonight. Thought he was great playing in his first-ever NHL game, as young as he is. Played with a lot of poise and patience, he moved the puck, he was in good support positions... Those are the things that make a good partner."— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 12, 2020
How it Happened
Evander Kane scored on a deflection on the power play for his 26th goal of the season to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 10:49 in the first period.
The Blackhawks responded at 4:33 when Keith’s shot from the point went past Aaron Dell, who was screened by Kirby Dach.
Duncan Keith's blast from the point on the power play ties it 1-1 at 4:33 of the second. Solid net-front presence from Kirby Dach.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 12, 2020
Chicago was 0-for-14 on the power play in its past five games. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/f9kRlDwUNn
Exactly 12 minutes later, Patrick Kane scored his first goal of the night with a tap-in on the power play to take a 2-1 lead.
Alex DeBrincat to Patrick Kane, who scores his 32nd goal of the season to make it 2-1 #Blackhawks against the #SJSharks at 16:33. That's two power-play goals for Chicago. pic.twitter.com/nGbJuMRmgs— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 12, 2020
A little over 90 seconds later, Brandon Saad scored his 21st goal of the season, also off the pass from DeBrincat:
Alex DeBrincat sends a pass between #SJSharks Tim Heed's legs to Brandon Saad, who fires it through Aaron Dell's five-hole for a 3-1 #Blackhawks lead at 17:58. pic.twitter.com/GDNufmp8vT— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 12, 2020
Nylander scored 1:31 into the third period, banking his shot off the post on the reception of a pass from Dylan Strome.
Alexander Maximiliam Michael Junior Nylander Altelius banks it off the post to make it 4-1 #Blackhawks against the #SJSharks 1:31 into the third period. pic.twitter.com/P4dfkO83P4— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 12, 2020
Timo Meier cut the deficit to 4-2 at 6:39 when he lifted a shot over Crawford’s glove.
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 his 30th goal of the season. Kubalik leads the team with 25 goals at even strength.
#⃣3⃣0⃣ for Kubalik! pic.twitter.com/kkWmnUxYvI— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) March 12, 2020
1. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — Three assists, three shots, two takeaways
2. Patrick Kane (CHI) — Two goals, 11 shots, one block
3. Duncan Keith (CHI) — One goal, one assist, two takeaways
Stay tuned. The NHL is expected to have an update Thursday after the NBA suspended its season earlier Wednesday night. The Blackhawks are scheduled to practice at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Fifth Third Arena before they play the Senators at 7:30 p.m. Friday at United Center.