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Chicago wins battle of division leaders

CHICAGO — Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg had a goal and an assist as the Central-leading Blackhawks beat the Pacific-leading Sharks 4-3 Sunday.

San Jose lost in regulation for the first time since Dec. 26, a span in which they won six games, lost one in overtime and lost one in a shootout.

Dave Bolland and rookie Andrew Shaw also scored for Chicago, which is 3-0-2 in its past five. Shaw's goal was his fourth in seven games since being called up from the AHL.

Antti Niemi stopped 36 shots for the Sharks. Niemi, who led the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2010, has started all seven games between the teams since joining the Sharks before last season.

Niemi made a glove save on Marian Hossa midway through the first, but he couldn't hold off the Blackhawks late in the period when Bolland and Stalberg scored 1:38 apart

Bolland made it 1-0 with 1:59 left. After taking Jimmy Hayes' feed from behind the net, he beat Niemi with a shot from a sharp angle.

Stalberg made it 2-0, skating down the slot and redirecting Toews' feed from the corner.

Game highlights: Rookie defenseman Dmitry Orlov's first career goal, 1:12 into the third, lifted the host Capitals past the Hurricanes 2-1. Washington has won three in a row to tie Florida atop the Southeast. … Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist as the host Canadiens ended a three-game skid by beating the Rangers 4-1.

Around the league: Blue Jackets wing Dane Byers will have a hearing with the league over Saturday's hit to the head of Sharks center Andrew Desjardins. Byers was given a match penalty, which is an automatic one-game suspension. Desjardins sat out Sunday against the Blackhawks and is day to day. … Hurricanes center Jeff Skinner returned after missing 16 games with a concussion. Last season's rookie of the year had team highs of 12 goals and 24 points when he was hit from behind Dec. 7 against the Oilers. … Stars wing Jamie Benn, who has a team-high 42 points, will miss up to three weeks after Sunday's appendectomy. … Rangers wing Ruslan Fedotenko, who has six goals and seven assists, is out indefinitely with back spasms.

at Blackhawks 2 1 1 4
Sharks 0 2 1 3

First Period1, Chicago, Bolland 13 (Hayes, Brunette), 18:01. 2, Chicago, Stalberg 14 (J.Toews, Leddy), 19:39. PenaltiesWinchester, SJ, major (fighting), 5:05; O'Donnell, Chi, major (fighting), 5:05.

Second Period3, San Jose, Pavelski 17 (Vlasic, Thornton), 1:42. 4, San Jose, McGinn 9 (Mitchell), 2:08. 5, Chicago, J.Toews 24 (Kane, Stalberg), 7:06. PenaltiesJ.Toews, Chi (hooking), 18:56.

Third Period6, Chicago, Shaw 4 (Kruger, Hossa), 2:37. 7, San Jose, Wingels 1 (Mitchell, Boyle), 15:03. PenaltiesBolland, Chi (holding), 5:04; Handzus, SJ (boarding), 6:26; Hjalmarsson, Chi (hooking), 18:53. Shots on GoalSan Jose 8-8-8—24. Chicago 11-14-15—40. Power-play opportunitiesSan Jose 0 of 3; Chicago 0 of 1. GoaliesSan Jose, Niemi 19-8-5 (40 shots-36 saves). Chicago, Crawford 17-10-4 (24-21). A21,645 (19,717).

at Capitals 0 1 1 2
Hurricanes 0 1 0 1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesCarlson, Was (delay of game), 5:49.

Second Period1, Washington, Semin 11 (Johansson, Ovechkin), 16:57. 2, Carolina, Jokinen 5 (Ponikarovsky, Stewart), 19:43 (pp). PenaltiesJokinen, Car (tripping), 7:26; Knuble, Was (slashing), 9:37; Beagle, Was (elbowing), 17:48.

Third Period3, Washington, Orlov 1 (Chimera), 1:12. PenaltiesKundratek, Was (tripping), 7:38; Harrison, Car (slashing), 9:35; Hendricks, Was (roughing), 9:35; Faulk, Car (roughing), 20:00; Carlson, Was (roughing), 20:00. Shots on GoalCarolina 13-13-18—44. Washington 4-9-11—24. Power-play opportunitiesCarolina 1 of 4; Washington 0 of 1. GoaliesCarolina, C.Ward 16-17-6 (24 shots-22 saves). Washington, Vokoun 19-10-0 (44-43). A18,506 (18,398).

at Canadiens 1 3 0 4
Rangers 1 0 0 1

First Period1, Montreal, Pacioretty 14 (Cole, Desharnais), 2:39. 2, N.Y. Rangers, Mitchell 3 (Stepan, Gaborik), 12:49. PenaltiesBickel, NYR, major (fighting), 4:59; Moen, Mon, major (fighting), 4:59; Gomez, Mon (high-sticking), 9:26.

Second Period3, Montreal, Pacioretty 15 (Cole, Desharnais), 3:54. 4, Montreal, Blunden 2 (Gomez, Subban), 7:11. 5, Montreal, Desharnais 7 (Pacioretty, Cole), 12:18. PenaltiesNone.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesHagelin, NYR (interference), 17:43. Shots on GoalN.Y. Rangers 11-11-7—29. Montreal 9-11-9—29. Power-play opportunitiesN.Y. Rangers 0 of 1; Montreal 0 of 1. GoaliesN.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 19-9-4 (29 shots-25 saves). Montreal, Budaj 2-4-0 (29-28). A21,273 (21,273).

Chicago wins battle of division leaders 01/15/12 [Last modified: Sunday, January 15, 2012 10:25pm]

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