CHICAGO — Patrick Kane scored twice, Alex DeBrincat had three assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 6-2 on Wednesday night.
Duncan Keith, Brandon Saad, Alex Nylander and rookie Dominik Kubalik also scored as the Blackhawks handed the Sharks their ninth loss in their last 12 games. Jonathan Toews had two assists, and Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his 10th straight start.
“I thought we got better as the game went on," Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. “I really liked our second period. We increased the pace of our game, the tempo of our game in the second. I thought we built momentum off that.”
Chicago had two power-play goals in the middle frame against the NHL’s best penalty-killing team, stopping a 0-for-14 drought with the man advantage. The sliding Sharks entered with an 86.4% kill rate.
But even after Chicago's uptempo win, postgame talk centred on the coronavirus and its possible impact on the remainder of the NHL season. Many Blackhawks and Sharks players and coaches had learned during or just after the game that the NBA had suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player had tested positive for the virus.
“I think, as players, you want to keep playing the games, keep the season going," said Kane, who netted his 32nd and 33rd goals. “You try to focus on what’s at hand, to be honest with you. Try not to think about it too much.
"We’ve been told to wash our hands, don’t touch our face and drink a lot of water. Hopefully that would be enough, but you look at the NBA and there’s some pretty highly conditioned athletes as well. It trickled into that league, so I guess you never know what can happen.”
Evander Kane and Timo Meier each had a goal and assist for San Jose in the opener of a four-game trip. Aaron Dell blocked 39 shots.
“We’re all upset because we lost the game 6-2 and then you look at what everyone else is going through in the world right now,” San Jose interim coach Bob Boughner said. “You’ve just go to remind yourself it’s just a game and there are bigger things going on.”
San Jose’s Joe Thornton skated in his 1,636th NHL game, moving ahead of Scott Stevens for ninth on the league’s all-time list. The 40-year-old forward picked up an assist.
Two Blackhawks prospects, defenceman Nicolas Beaudin and forward Brandon Hagel, made their NHL debuts after being recalled from Rockford of the AHL.
Beaudin was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft.
“I thought he was great for his first-ever NHL game,” said Keith who was paired with the 20-year-old.
San Jose led 1-0 after an uptempo first period. The Sharks outshot Chicago 15-14 and both goalies were tested.
Evander Kane opened the scoring during a 5-on-3 power play at 10:49. Stationed in the slot, he deflected Thornton’s feed from the right circle past Crawford high on the stick side.
Chicago outskated San Jose in the second and outshot the Sharks 17-10 while taking a 3-1 lead.
Keith tied it at 1 with a power-play goal at 4:33. With rookie Kirby Dach providing a screen at the edge of the crease, Keith fired a shot from the left point past Dell’s glove.
Kane made it 2-1 with another power-play goal with 3:27 left in the period. He darted to the left edge of the crease and tipped in DeBrincat’s pinpoint cross-ice feed.
“We went out in the second period and did exactly what we didn’t want to do which was take two penalties in the first seven or eight minutes,” Boughner said. "Then, Chicago's big boys started feeling the puck and feeling good.
“Once their big boys got going, it looked like we didn’t have an answer for it, honestly.”
Saad upped it to 3-1 just 1:25 later. After taking DeBrincat’s pass, Saad swept into the crease alone and beat Dell with a low shot between the pads.
Nylander ripped in a high shot from the slot at 1:31 of the third. Meier cut it to 4-2 just over 5 minutes later, firing a high shot past Crawford from a faceoff.
Kane added his 33rd goal off his own rebound with 3:41 left to make it 5-2. Kubalik scored his 30th goal with 1:57 remaining.
NOTES: The 36-year-old Keith added an assist for his fourth two-point game this season. ... San Jose F and captain Logan Couture sat out under concussion protocol after being hit in the head with a puck against Colorado on Sunday. ... Chicago D Adam Boqvist missed the game under concussion protocol after taking an elbow to the head versus St. Louis on Sunday. ... Chicago C Drake Caggiula was scratched with a right hand injury suffered in a fight against the Blues. ... Chicago D Lucas Carlsson returned after sitting out two games after being hit in the head with a puck.
Sharks: At St. Louis on Friday night.
Blackhawks: Host Ottawa on Friday night.
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