EditorsNote: 11th gref, add ‘a’ before ‘one-timer’
Alex DeBrincat scored twice to give him 40 goals this season as the Chicago Blackhawks maintained their playoff hopes with a 5-4 victory against host San Jose on Thursday night.
Connor Murphy, Jonathan Toews and Chris Kunitz also scored for the Blackhawks, who pulled within five points of Colorado for the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card playoff berth. Goaltender Corey Crawford made 26 saves for Chicago, which has five regular-season games remaining.
Kunitz scored what proved to be the winner, breaking a 4-4 tie at 18:08 of the second period. Kunitz set up in front of the San Jose net and tipped in a backhanded shot by Patrick Kane.
The Sharks, who have already clinched a playoff berth, lost their season-high seventh game in a row (0-6-1) despite goals from Lukas Radil, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier. Goalie Martin Jones stopped 22 of 27 shots.
The Blackhawks took a 3-0 lead in the opening 11 minutes.
DeBrincat opened the scoring at 4:10, batting home his own rebound on the power play.
Murphy made it 2-0 at 6:19, as his one-timer from the point deflected into the net off a defender’s skate.
Toews extended the lead at 10:59, corralling a deflected shot and lifting it over Jones.
The Sharks got on the board a minute later, as Radil scored off of Crawford’s glove after taking a pass from Hertl, who weaved past several defenders.
San Jose pulled within 3-2 on Nyquist’s power-play goal at 2:33 of the second after taking a no-look, backhanded pass from Hertl.
DeBrincat made it 4-2 at 4:21 of the period, scoring on a one-timer from the slot.
Hertl scored on a two-man advantage at 6:29, tapping in a centering pass from Logan Couture. Meier tied it at 16:06, taking a pass alone in front from Couture and deking Crawford before lifting the puck over the goalie.
Kane, Erik Gustafsson and Brandon Saad each had two assists for the Blackhawks.
—Field Level Media