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Sunday, January 15, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Sharks 3

By Jesse Rogers

A quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night at the United Center.

How it happened: The Hawks got out to a 2-0 advantage before allowing San Jose to tie it, but they pulled away before the Sharks could ever get a lead. Dave Bolland and Viktor Stalberg scored 1:38 apart in the first period, but the Sharks did them one better, scoring twice within 26 seconds early in the second. When Jonathan Toews tallied later in the second after a hustle play by Stalberg it gave the Hawks the lead again, and this time they didn’t relinquish it. Andrew Shaw scored his fourth goal in his seventh game in the third period and it turned out to be the winner after Tommy Wingels scored his first career goal to cut the Hawks' lead to one. The Hawks had to play the final 1:07 shorthanded by two players with Niklas Hjalmarssonin the penalty box after a tripping call and an empty net for San Jose. They killed it off in dramatic fashion to secure the win.

What it means: The Hawks actually played better than the final score would indicate. Corey Crawford gave up a weak goal and San Jose scored on a re-direct from Joe Pavelski but otherwise the Sharks offense didn’t provide much of a scare until Wingels scored late. On the other end of the ice, Toews, Stalberg and Patrick Kane were dominant, playing nearly every shift in the offensive zone. Shaw, Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger also played well together as the Hawks’ time with the puck must have doubled that of San Jose. They were that good and now have points in five straight games, improving to 27-13-6.

What’s next: The Hawks get their first two-day break in the schedule in quite some time before hosting the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m.