- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

SAN JOSE, CALIF. (AP) - Joe Thornton scored on a give-and-go with Ryane Clowe 45 seconds into overtime, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Wednesday night for their fifth consecutive victory.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 shots in his return from a seven-game injury absence, and NHL-leading San Jose improved to 12-0-1 at the Shark Tank despite facing a late deficit. Rob Blake scored an early power-play goal, and captain Patrick Marleau tied it midway through the third period for the Sharks, who beat Chicago for the 13th straight time.

Captain Jonathan Toews scored two goals for the Blackhawks, who lost for the first time in four stops on their six-game trip.

Toews scored a go-ahead goal 23 seconds into the third period during a two-man advantage for the Blackhawks, who lost defenseman Aaron Johnson and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to second-period injuries. Marleau evened the score with a wraparound shot past Cristobal Huet’s outstretched skate, and Thornton ended it when he jumped on a turnover near the blue line and traded passes with Clowe, who had two assists.

Huet made 12 saves after replacing Khabibulin for the Blackhawks, who haven’t beaten San Jose since Oct. 5, 2005, and haven’t won in the Shark Tank since March 19, 2003.

The Sharks have played 22 home games without a regulation loss since March 3, 2008. When the clubs met in Chicago 10 days earlier, the Sharks handed the Blackhawks their first home loss in regulation this season, but Chicago fell just short of returning the favor.

San Jose forward Mike Grier got a game misconduct penalty late in the second period for boarding Johnson, who crumpled to the ice and eventually left holding his arm to his body. The hit wasn’t particularly hard, but Johnson wasn’t in position to defend himself after clearing the puck behind him.

During the ensuing five-minute power play, defenseman Dan Boyle made a spectacular play when he dived skates-first into the net to block a shot. Khabibulin then was forced to the locker room with another injury after making a series of saves in the final minute of the period, sending Huet onto the ice.

The Shark Tank crowd gave a rude welcome to Brian Campbell, San Jose’s big trade acquisition late last season. Campbell played well in the regular season but struggled in the playoffs before bolting for a $57 million free agent deal with Chicago, and the San Jose fans aggressively booed him every time he touched the puck.

After playing just one game in the previous eight days, the Sharks opened with another one-sided period for the NHL leaders in goals and shots, but they didn’t take a lead until Blake scored on a long slap shot during a 5-on-3 advantage with 17 seconds left in the period. San Jose outshot Chicago 17-2 in the frame, matching its season-low for shots allowed in a period.

Notes:@ Blake’s goal moved him into a fourth-place tie with Phil Housley with 129 career power-play goals by a defenseman. … Chicago D Brent Sopel was back in the lineup after a three-game absence. The Blackhawks dressed seven defensemen and scratched enforcer Adam Burish. … RW Dustin Byfuglien also missed his third straight game with an undisclosed injury.

(This version CORRECTS Sharks 3, Blackhawks 2, OT. corrects Eds Note. UPDATES.)

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