Troy Brouwer scored his second goal of the game 1:37 into overtime to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory last night over the Sharks in San Jose in a matchup between the NHL’s top two teams.
Brouwer scored one of three first-period goals for Chicago, which took a 3-0 lead before the midway point of the frame but needed overtime to beat the Sharks for the third time in four meetings.
The Sharks managed to stay 1 point ahead of Chicago for the most points in the NHL. This was the final regular-season matchup between the teams. If the standings remain this way, the next time the teams could meet would be in the Western Conference finals.
This game had the intensity of a playoff matchup, especially in the third period when San Jose tied the game and then fought off a late charge from Chicago to send the game into overtime. Brouwer ended it there, as he faked a shot after skating into the offensive zone, moved to the middle and beat Evgeni Nabokov with a wrist shot.
Nabokov was brilliant in the third period, making 19 saves and killing off a late power play that went into the opening minute of overtime.
Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won four straight games in San Jose. Cristobal Huet made 34 saves to earn the win.
Thrashers 4, Flyers 3 - Jim Slater’s second goal snapped a tie and lifted visiting Atlanta over Philadelphia.
The Thrashers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to hand the Flyers their first loss when leading after two periods. Philadelphia was 22-0.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Rich Peverley also scored for the Thrashers, and Evander Kane set up both of Slater’s goals with nifty wraparound passes.
Atlanta moved one point ahead of the Flyers, who entered the night in a four-way tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Claude Giroux, Arron Asham, and Dan Carcillo had goals for Philadelphia.
Trailing 3-1, the Thrashers quickly went to work in the third. Kovalchuk scored his 31st goal just 29 seconds in to cut it to 3-2.
Kovalchuk picked up a loose puck off a faceoff and shot one over goalie Ray Emery, who was sprawled on the ice.
A few minutes later, Peverley slipped by the defense, took a long pass from Pavel Kubina and scored on a breakaway to tie it at 3.
Then Kane skated down the left side, went around the net and placed a perfect pass on Slater’s stick. Slater slipped it in for a 4-3 lead with 6:32.
Senators 4, Penguins 1 - Brian Elliott made 30 saves to win his sixth consecutive start, and visiting Ottawa turned back Pittsburgh to tie a club record with its eighth straight win.
Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno scored for the Senators, who matched the Washington Capitals for the NHL’s longest active winning streak. It is Ottawa’s longest run since Oct. 13-Nov. 6, 2007.
“We’re rolling right now,’’ Spezza said. “We’re beating good teams and gaining confidence from it. It’s a broken record, but winning breeds confidence, and we’re a confident bunch right now.’’
Kings 4, Blue Jackets 1 - Anze Kopitar scored his 100th and 101st career goals and visiting Los Angeles beat Columbus to tie a season high with its fourth straight win.
Jonathan Quick was at his best during a Columbus blitz in the opening two minutes, stopping seven shots at the outset on his way to 29-save night.
Matt Greene and Ryan Smyth also scored for the Kings.
The Kings came in with the league’s sixth-best road record and are 17-10-1. They have won five straight on the road. Antoine Vermette ended Quick’s shutout with his 17th goal midway through the third period.
Hurricanes 4, Islanders 1 - Cam Ward made 26 saves, and new captain Eric Staal scored his third goal in two games as host Carolina topped New York to win its third straight.
Matt Cullen, Stephane Yelle and Jussi Jokinen added goals for the surging Hurricanes, who have won four of five. Since replacing Rod Brind’Amour as captain on Jan. 21, Staal has eight goals in five games. He scored twice in a road win over the New York Rangers Wednesday night.
Wild 1, Avalanche 0 - Martin Havlat’s goal with 4:49 left sent Minnesota to a win over Colorado in Denver, denying Craig Anderson another shutout and handing the Avalanche their first loss since Jan. 8 at Carolina.
Anderson, going for his third shutout in four games, slid to his right in anticipation of a shot from Kyle Brodziak, who instead backhanded the puck to Havlat. The Wild forward was sandwiched between two Colorado defenders and slid the puck into the open net.
Coyotes 3, Flames 2 - In Glendale, Ariz., Phoenix blew a two-goal, second-period lead, but Robert Lang and Lauri Korpikoski scored in the shootout to send Calgary to its ninth straight loss.
Blues 2, Oilers 1 - Eric Brewer and Alexander Steen had goals as visiting St. Louis handed Edmonton its 12th straight loss.