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.