Blackhawks 3, Kings 2, OT

Chicago’s Patrick Sharp was all alone, hanging back a bit in

overtime and waiting for a chance the puck might come his way in a

4-on-4 game.

And when Los Angeles’ Brad Richardson made an errant pass in the

center of the rink, Dave Bolland picked it off and quickly sent it

in Sharp’s direction.

From just outside the blue line, Sharp took it to the net and

beat Jonathan Quick 2:08 into overtime – his second goal of the

game – to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.

“I saw the bouncing puck there and the L.A. players flooded the

zone,” Sharp said. “I felt if we could force a turnover, I’d get

a chance to sneak in. Bolly made a great play.”

For Kings coach Terry Murray, whose team is trying to secure

home ice for the first round of the playoffs, the final play was

disappointing – there was no one back to check Sharp and the pass

by Richardson was risky.

“You’ve got to stop and you’ve got some responsibilities away

from the puck. Then the attempted pass is something that you’d like

to not see,” Murray said.

“The backhand pass through the middle of the ice is a hard one

to make. I know what his intentions are, I know they were good. But

just on the other side of the checking part of it, we wanted to

make sure one of our defensemen is back defending.”

But they weren’t and the Blackhawks got the victory, one that

allowed them to tie San Jose for top spot in the West with 93

points.

“Seems like we’ve been tied with them 30 times this year,”

Sharp said. “Why not shoot for first in the conference and first

in the league? We want to build as the playoffs come on.”

Sharp opened the scoring for Chicago in the first period, Kris

Versteeg added a goal, and Antti Niemi stopped 28 shots in his

first start in four games.

Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, and Quick

made 40 saves.

“I just kind of reacted to what he (Sharp) was doing. He made a

good move and beat me there,” Quick said of the game-winner.

Kopitar got his 31st goal of the season when his wrist shot from

the right circle on a power play eluded Niemi and gave the Kings a

2-1 lead in the second. It came less than 2 minutes after Brown

tied it with a wraparound shot through Niemi’s legs.

Versteeg’s rebound goal through traffic in front of the net –

less than 2 minutes after Kopitar’s score – tied it at 2.

Niemi stopped a breakaway attempt by Michal Handzus early in the

third and seconds later snuffed an attempt from close in by Wayne

Simmonds.

“It’s a very difficult team to play against. There’s a lot of

sorting out, a lot of reads you have to make,” Murray said of the

Blackhawks. “At the end, we just didn’t make the right one.”

Chicago’s Adam Burish wasted little time in making an impact in

his first game of the season following knee surgery. He took a pass

behind the net and fed Sharp who whiffed and then scored on his

second try for a 1-0 lead less than 3 minutes into the game.

Seconds later Burish dropped the gloves with the Kings’ Rich Clune

and the fight brought a rousing cheer from the crowd at the United

Center.

Quick held off a Chicago power play in the first – 1:41 of it

with the Blackhawks holding a two-man advantage – when Duncan

Keith’s shot hit the post.

NOTES: It was the third meeting of the season between the teams

and first since November. Chicago leads 2-1. Los Angeles won the

previous meeting in a shootout. The teams face off again in eight

days. … Burish tore the ACL in his right knee during a preseason

game at Minnesota on Sept. 20 and underwent surgery five days

later. He was activated from the injured reserve list last weekend.

… The Blackhawks honored former star and Hall of Famer Denis

Savard. Savard also coached the team for 147 games before he was

fired four games into last season.