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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2013

Chicago sets point-streak record for start of season

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks set an NHL record for the best start to a season, beating the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Friday night to give them at least one point in their first 17 games.

Blackhawks rookie Brandon Saad scored a short-handed goal early in the third period to snap a 1-all tie. Chicago (14-0-3) won its fourth straight game to break a mark set by the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks, who earned points in their first 16 games.

Viktor Stalberg also scored for league-leading Chicago, which has captured a total of 31 of 34 possible points.

Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery made 26 saves to win his fourth straight start and improve to 7-0. Chicago killed all four San Jose power plays, all of which occurred in a span of 14 minutes, from late in the second to early in the third periods.

Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks, getting only his second goal in 11 games after getting nine in San Jose's first five games.

Both Emery and Niemi were sharp throughout most of the game. A misplay by Niemi led to Stalberg's goal at 16:40 of the second period, and he seemed fooled on Saad's score. Niemi stopped 32 shots.

Niemi, who was the goalie when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, also let in a couple of soft goals in a 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks at the United Center last Friday.

Chicago and San Jose faced each other for the third time in 17 days. The Blackhawks defeated the Sharks 4-1 last Friday and 5-3 in San Jose on Feb. 5.

The Blackhawks had a full lineup for the first time since their season opener at Los Angeles.

Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, forward Daniel Carcillo, and goalie Corey Crawford returned from injuries. Seabrook missed Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury and Carcillo sat out 15 games since suffering a knee injury in the season opener.

Crawford, who sat out three games with a upper-body injury, backed up Emery.

Chicago forward Marian Hossa was back after being hit in the back of the head by Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen on Tuesday and leaving early in the third period. Hansen was suspended for one game by the NHL.



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