Blackhawks vs. Sharks final score 2016: Scott Darling leads Chicago to 5th straight win

The Hawks stayed hot with a 4-1 win over the Sharks on Sunday night at the United Center.

A weary Chicago Blackhawks team put up a decisive 4-1 victory against the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks on Sunday night, extending their winning streak to five games and retaining a firm grip on the No. 1 spot in the NHL.

After a grueling and physical duel against the Blues in St. Louis less than 24 hours before, the Hawks looked tired after playing nine games in 16 days, but gained determination and energy beating a tough Sharks team, looking to extend their own five-game winning streak.

A rested San Jose Sharks team awaited a Hawks team that was seeing action for the second time in less than 24 hours after a high scoring affair in St. Louis on Saturday night. Though the Hawks looked no worse for the wear early on, neither team showed much in the way of sustained zone pressure halfway through the first period, and a Hawks power play yielded little in the way of pressure on Sharks netminder Martin Jones.

With just over four minutes remaining in the period, Niklas Hjalmarsson was assessed a delay of game penalty sending the Hawks to the kill. The Hawks turned in a solid effort and finished the period strong with 10 shots on goal and giving up only six shots to the visitors.

After a first period where coach Joel Quenneville deferred to his top three lines for the bulk of the ice time, the Hawks came out flat giving up a tip-in goal to Joe Pavelski off of a Brent Burns assist early on in the period. The wear of six games in 10 days was beginning to show as the Hawks were unable to mount any chance after a Joe Thornton cross-checking penalty sent them to the power play.

Shortly thereafter, Duncan Keith was sent to the box for interference and though the Hawks managed to get the kill and gain a bit of energy after foiling the Sharks, a push in the offensive zone came up empty. Scott Darling was pressed into service often in the latter part of the period as the Sharks mounted an offensive onslaught. At the other end of the ice, the Hawks got a blistering slap shot off the stick of Keith to even the score. In a period that was all Sharks the Hawks managed to escape with tie score and a SOG deficit of 21-18.

The Hawks took the ice with a bit more energy to start the third, creating a bit more space and a few more opportunities in the Sharks’ zone. Darling continued his stellar play turning away a few early chances and the score remained tied until a Vinnie Hinostroza face-off win and resulting Ryan Hartman wrist shot gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead with 13 minutes to play.

Energized, the Hawks applied pressure to Jones and Marian Hossa very nearly gave the Hawks a two goal lead as the period neared the halfway point. The Shark poured pucks on net to no avail as the clock moved through the five-minute mark. With three minutes remaining the Hawks had only five shots on goal in the period and the Sharks looked to make a final push. Hinostroza got a lucky bounce at 17:40 and put one past Jones giving the Hawks a two goal lead. WIth the Shark net empty, and the clock winding down, Artemi Panarin put the puck on the stick of Patrick Kane for an empty-net goal and a 4-1 victory.

Turning Point

Duncan Keith’s first goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 and Scott Darling’s 15- save second period combined to give the Blackhawks the lift they needed to carry them into and through the third period and to decisive 4-1 victory.

SCH 3 Stars

1. Ryan Hartman, Blackhawks (1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots on goal)

2. Scott Darling, Blackhawks (33 saves on 34 shots)

3. Artemi Panarin, Blackhawks (2 assists)

Play of the game

Ryan Hartman delivered a blistering wrist shot off a face-off win by Vinnie Hinostroza and past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones for the game-winning goal.

What’s Next

The Hawks will take on the Ottawa Senators at the United Center on Tuesday night.