Blackhawks edge Sharks in battle of the West

6 February 2013 07:40

The top-of-the-table clash began with a mad flurry of goals - six of them in the space of nine first-period minutes - as both sides battled to gain the ascendancy.

The Sharks flew out of the blocks, taking a two-goal lead when Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels were on target inside six minutes.

The Blackhawks hit back with their first goal of the game to Brandon Saad, but San Jose regained their two-goal advantage when Michal Handzus found the net.

Chicago weren't to be denied however, as Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger ensured they would enter the first break at level pegging to top an action-packed 20 minutes of ice hockey.

The goalmouth action was few and far between for the remainder and the game would be decided off the stick of one man - Chicago's Patrick Kane.

Kane's wrist shot midway through the second period had the Blackhawks ahead for the first time in the contest.

And they held on until the death when San Jose pulled their goaltender, which paved the way for an empty-netter to Kane to ice the result.

Chicago are three points clear at the top of the conference on 18 points, while the Sharks (15 points) have lost back-to-back games after being unbeaten prior to their form lull.

Elsewhere in West, the Nashville Predators thrashed the St Louis Blues 6-1 at Scottrade Center, with six different goalscorers contributing to their third straight victory.

Ryan Ellis, Rich Clune, Nick Spaling, Kevin Klein, Gabriel Bourque and Martin Erat all put the puck in the back of the net.

Champions the Los Angeles Kings accounted for the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, while the Calgary Flames were comfortable 4-1 winners over the Detroit Red Wings.

Eastern Conference leaders the Pittsburgh Penguins held off a late fightback from the New York Islanders to win 4-2 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Brian Little scored in overtime to hand the Winnipeg Jets a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers, while the Buffalo Sabres lost for a third straight time when the Ottawa Senators trumped them 4-3.

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat conference cellar-dwellers the Washington Capitals 3-2, while the New Jersey Devils were boosted by a double to David Clarkson in their 3-1 win over the New York Rangers.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, third in East, were upset by the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 via a double from Tom Sestito - a personal best effort from the 25-year-old left winger.

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